Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Homeschool Journey: Guest Post with Chelsea Savage

Our second guest blogger for our "My Homeschool Journey" is my friend Chelsea Savage. Chelsea and I met as teenagers volunteering at Camp Lakeview in the summer of 2003. I remember being so impressed with how confident, well spoken, and knowledgeable about horses Chelsea was. She is so sweet and I have enjoyed seeing her at camp over the years and now keeping in touch through Facebook.

1.I was homeschooled kindergarten through 12th grade!  I grew up in Brownsburg Indiana until I was 8, at which point we moved to a small town in southern Indiana. 

2. My parents were not homeschooled and were not professional teachers. My dad is a senior electrical engineer at Rolls Royce and my mom went to cosmetology school but was an amazing stay at home mom for 25 years!

3. I have two younger brothers who were also homeschooled - one until 10 grade and the other until 9th grade. Both wished to transfer to the local high school to participate in clubs and sports. 

4. There were days I enjoyed being with my 2 younger brothers and days I did not! Haha. We were given our independent study times, especially in high school, however there were definitely days (most likely during our teen age years) when some additional space would have been good. We would start every morning with prayer, pledges (bible/flag) and a devotion. I still remember the beautiful nature inspired readings we would do each morning from a series called Character Sketches (link below). Our day would go as long as it needed to in order to get all coursework done. Some days that might be 2pm, other days it was 4p, just depending on our family/work/music/sports schedule for the day or week. One of the benefits of homeschooling is the extremely flexible schedule, so I think you just have to do what works for you and your family!

5/7. The first time I went to "real" school as my friends would call it, was when I attended IU Bloomington in 2006. It was a slightly scary transition, leaving my hometown of 3500 and attending a campus with 46,000 other people. I think the biggest challenge I faced though was the pressure I put on myself, as I felt as if I needed to prove to myself and the outside world that a homeschooler could succeed at a public college. I am so happy I was home schooled and think it prepared me very well to excel at IU and IUPUI in that I was skilled at self-study and problem solving.

6. While my parents gave me the choice of attending a private highschool, I chose to stay home! I think if I had attended high school, I would have been active in different clubs and cultivated different hobbies, but its hard to say if that would have changed my professional path. I know that I missed out on alot of drama, drugs, sex, bullying and self confidence issues that are considered an everyday aspect of high school life now and for that all I can do is say thank you mom and dad!

8. I received my Exercise Science BS from IU in 2010 and my physical therapy doctorate from IUPUI in 2013. I attended an orthopedic residency at the University of Indianapolis and Body One Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation in 2014 and in June of last year I became a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist. Currently I practice on the north side of Indianapolis at Body One and enjoy helping people recover from back, neck, jaw or any other joint pain. For fun, my husband and I are rehabbing our home Geist! I enjoy refinishing furniture, DIY projects, trying new recipes and Crossfit. We have found a new church home and are looking forward to getting involved there very soon.  

9. During college and grad school, my friends and classmates were often surprised when they found out I spend k-12 at home. When I would ask why they were so shocked, they would say something like, "But you're so ..... normal?". I recognize that there are some not so normal home schoolers, but this always made me laugh. I guess you would say my social interactions were normal? And I'm not really sure if anyone is truly prepared for the awkwardness of dating! My husband and I have been happily married for 2 1/2 amazing years. He was not home schooled, attended IU and works as a CPA. He also turned out "normal" I would say. :)

10. We have discussed the possibility of home schooling in the future, but I really don't think it will fit our family's needs very well. We have spent 12 collective years on our education/professional goals and this point I can''t see leaving that investment to home school. I will most likely stay at home for awhile when our kids are young as day care is running about as expensive as a mortgage these days! Yikes! But I really love what I do and can't see giving that up permanently....Although that being said, the Lord has taught me a lesson or two just when I think I have everything "figured out", so we will see what he has in store for us!

If you would like to know more about what Dr. Savage does professionally please visit her profile with Body One Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Homeschool Journey: Guest Post with Anna Busenburg

Our first guest post in "My Homeschool Journey" series in from my sweet friend Anna Busenburg. Anna and I met in the summer of 2007. I am always so encouraged by Anna's commitment to the Lord, her husband and family, and healthy living.

Where did you grow up? What years were you homeschooled?
I grew up in Columbus, IN from 4th grade through high school. I was born in Texas and I started being homeschooled in 1st grade after attending a private kindergarten at a local church. I was homeschooled from 1st-8th grade. Then I attended a public high school in Columbus, IN for my 4 years in high school.

Were your parents homeschooled? Were/Are they “teachers” outside of the home?
My parents were not homeschooled. They grew up in the public school systems from kindergarten through high school and then both attended Purdue University for college. My mother is a licensed teacher and has taught at the college and high school level. My father is a pastor and was involved with our schooling as well.

Were your siblings also homeschooled? If so, for what years?
 I have 1 younger sibling. She is 4 years younger than me and she was homeschooled with me as well. She attended public kindergarten and then homeschooled from 1st through 8th grade. My parents did have her take some classes at our local public middle school when she was in 7th and 8th grade and we also participated on their school cross country and track teams. She then went to public high school in Columbus, IN as well for 4 years.

Did you enjoy schooling with your siblings? What did a typical day look like?
I love being homeschooled. I thought it was a great experience. We were involved with a homschool group in Texas and in Columbus, IN. It was great to be involved with various activities outside of the classroom. We would get up each morning, go running with my Mom, come home and eat breakfast and get ready for the day. Our school day would start at 8am and we would do school work through lunch. My Dad would come home for lunch and we would eat together. Then we would normally spend 30-45 minutes reading with him. Then we would resume school work until we had an afternoon activity. We did lots of things including piano lessons, choir, 4-H, sports (soccer, basketball, track, softball), church after school club and our homeschool group. We normally were done with traditional school lessons around 2-3pm in the afternoon each day.

Did you go to mainstream school at any point? What was that transition like? Were you glad to go to school? Did you ever return to homeschool after that?
I did attend public high school in Columbus, IN. It went extremely well. I entered in 9th grade and was involved with the soccer the summer prior to high school so by the time I started school I had a whole team of friends. I also to high school with a couple of friends from our homeschool group who also went to public high school at that same time. Honestly, there were no major problems. I did realize all the time that is wasted in public schools with the transitions between classes, taking attendance and then having to go home and do homework at night. I loved my time in high school and was very involved with various clubs and sports. I played varsity soccer and ran varsity track all 4 years and participated on the speech team and with the Key Club. It was a great segue from being homeschooled, to high school and then getting me ready for college.

In your years at home did you want to go to school? What did you feel like you missed? Did you know you missed it then? Do you wish it have happened any differently?
My time through out elementary school and jr high I never felt that I missed out on anything.If anything I was able to do more than kids in public school, because I got my homework/school done earlier and I could participate in my extra-curricular activities. I am glad that I went to public high school, because I think that provided lots of great opportunities. My parents felt that public school would give me more opportunities than what homeschooling could give me. I could participate in high school athletics, I could be in science labs that were better than what my parents could try to create at home, I could get pushed more with mathematics and have a chance to take such a wide array of classes and determine what I would want to major in by the time I started college.

When did you graduate high school? Where did you attend college?
Do you feel like homeschool adequately prepared you for college? If not, how could you have been better prepared?
I graduated from Columbus East High School in 2006 with academic honors. I then started at Purdue University in the fall of 2006 with a double major in Dietetics, Nutrition, Fitness & Health. I went through 4 years of the under graduate program and then got accepted in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics for their year long internship program from 2010-2011. I then graduated with my duel bachelor science degrees in August of 2011. I believe that all my education leading up to heading off to college was helpful for me to succeeding and doing well. I learned different skills being homeschooled and attending public school. I learned to be very independent, self motivated and able to find answers to my questions while being homeschooled. When I attend public school I learned how to work with the school system and successfully complete a program that they have put together. 

What do you do as an adult? Career? Hobbies? Awards/Advanced Degrees?
I work at St. Vincent Women's Hospital in the NICU. I am a pediatric registered dietitian and I work with mainly premature babies. I calculate their nutrition needs and help make sure these infants grow appropriately. When you have a preterm infant their nutrition needs are much higher than a term infant. So they need a specialized nutrition plan to grow and develop appropriately. I have not gone on for a Master's degree yet, because in my field/specialty area it is not required. I have thought about it, but have chosen to complete a national board exam in pediatrics. I may complete a Master's program in the future if I find one that is focused in my specialty area.  

In terms of hobbies, I enjoy being active and I run frequently. I have trained for multiple half marathons and last year completed my first marathon. I also enjoy doing yoga to help balance out my running. I enjoy cooking and trying out new restaurants around Indianapolis. My husband and I spend a far amount of time hanging out with friends and even traveling around the country to see friends. 

Do you feel as though you developed adequate dating and social skills? Are you married? Was your spouse homeschooled?
My parents took an extremely conservative approach to dating/courting. I think some of that was influenced by the homeschool groups they were apart of and their own religious beliefs. I do not completely agree with all of their ideas in regards to courting/dating, but I am thankful that they wanted the best for me. In terms of social skills, I think that I developed just like any other child would. I had tons of social interactions through various extra curricular activities and I never felt like I missed out on anything. I am married and actually met my husband at a christian church camp and then we ended up at the college. We were friends first and then started dating. My husband was not homeschooled. He went to a combination of private and public schools from kindergarten through high school.

In the future, if you have children, will you consider homeschooling them? Why or why not?
I have thought about potentially homeschooling my children. It really depends on the child and what is best for the family unit. My parents chose to homeschool me because of my Dad's vocation. As a pastor, he worked evenings and weekends and if we were in public school we would rarely see him. Since we were homeschooled we had that chance every day at lunch to see and interact with my Dad. That worked great for our family. In terms of my future, I don't know what I will be called to do. I love my job and I don't feel called at this time to be a teacher and teach my children. I think being homeschooled as made me very open minded to different forms of education (Montessori, charter schools, etc) and I am interested in working to give my child they best education in form whatever is best for them. 

If you'd like to follow Anna on social media please join her on her personal blog: Life Through Green Eyes or for healthy living news join her at

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Introduction to "My Homeschool Journey" Series

In looking ahead to homeschooling "for real" we have definitely had lots of questions about our children's future around here. Mark and I were both educated at brick and mortar schools (him private, mine public) and we had the traditional education of our generation.

We often find it hard to imagine what...
having a 9 year old home all day will look like
middle school without after school activities
high school without football games
what potentially 21 years as a one income family will mean for us financially

We find it difficult to think about (potentially) missing out on traditional milestones
8th grade graduation, prom, high school graduation ceremony, etc

We wonder...
will the sacrifices be worth it?
will they appreciate it later?
will they resent it later?
will they love it?
will they hate it?

These are questions we have asked each other and also been discussing with some other families in our homeschool group.

We have no way of knowing what the years ahead of us hold or how long exactly we will be on this homeschool journey but I knew that I wanted some kind of idea of how other people felt.

I decided to ask two friends, both of whom I met at Camp Lakeview over the years, to write guest blog posts for me and they have done so! These great ladies were both raised homeschooling in Central Indiana, attended Indiana colleges, and now work in their respective fields in Central Indiana. I chose them because each were homeschooled, have achieved great personal and professional success in our state, and I felt their stories will be of great relevance to families homeschooling here in Central Indiana. I will be sharing their posts this week and look forward to learning from them along with you!

Guest Blogger One: Anna Busenburg, Blogging on Tuesday
Anna and I met at Camp Lakeview in the summer of 2007. Anna blogs professionally on her blog rdnna. Anna was homeschooled through 8th grade and then completed high school at a public school in her town. Anna is a graduate of Purdue University and currently works as a Registered Dietitian. Anna is married to her camp-and-college sweetheart Chas and they have a sweet little pup named Einstein.

Guest Blogger Two: Chelsea Savage, Blogging on Thursday
Chelsea and I met at Camp Lakeview in the summer of 2003. Chelsea was homeschooled through high school. She earned her bachelors from Indiana University and her graduate degree from IUPUI. Chelsea has become a board certified orthopedic clinical specialist. She lives in the Indianapolis area where she and her husband Neil are in the process of rehabbing their home.

I enjoyed hearing from each of these ladies on their experiences and pray you will find some encouragement for your homeschool journey as well!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Frugal Friday 148

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark worked two shifts at his part time job.

- My friend Nicole and her son Henry came to visit. Henry is 2.5 months younger than Owen so we were able to send home some hand-me-downs with them.

- We had a bbq pork dinner after Annabeth's dance recital to celebrate her dance achievements as well as Father's Day. We were able to eat the leftovers Sunday for dinner and Monday for lunch.

- My parents were in town and treated us to Friday dinner and Sunday lunch out. Mark's parents' treated Mark to a Father's Day dinner out on Sunday. Thank you all! You sure know how to make us feel special!

- We took a quick (it was hot!!) trip to the park for a Father's Day picnic with my parents. We enjoyed surprising Annabeth with the new swings at our park. They are very fun and allow a parent to swing with their child. Owen had his first time on a swing and loved it!!

Owen enjoyed his first time on a swing!
I think Mark enjoyed it too!

- I finished two photo books, Owen's 1st Birthday Book and Annabeth's 3rd Dance Season Book. I also had two FREE photo books set to expire on Shutterfy. I was able to order both books for just the cost of shipping. I saved $60!!

- This week has been extremely hot here - especially for June! We have been playing outside early in the morning and then enjoying the afternoon inside. As a result, Annabeth and I have both completed 15 hours of summer reading and thus the Summer Reading Program at our library! We each have entered to win some neat prizes and each earned a FREE book as well!

- On Thursday, we visited friends who are raising ducks. Jeanette gave us a great lesson about ducks and we enjoyed watching the ducks splash in their little pool. Summer science class!

We have enjoyed a slower week than the past six or so. This next week is swimming lessons and then the arrival of Auntie Jenn and the kids. We are certainly looking forward to both of those events!

Happy Savings to All!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Handprints on my Heart

One of the very first serious conversations Mark and I ever had, before we were even friends or dating or courting or engaged or married, involved him talking about his desire for children and a handprint project.

Three years ago, on Father's Day, Annabeth and I gifted Mark with a canvas and paint to make a family handprint project. We hung it on a small wall in the breakfast room and that it is where it has been since then.

This year, the three of us gifted Mark with another set of paint and another canvas to celebrate Father' Day. We enjoyed adding Owen's little hand to our family print.

As soon as we made the new one, my mind went back to a canvas wall project I had been thinking about. Other than the original handprint canvas, we had two more that Annabeth has painted. One we keep in her room and one in the school room. I thought that maybe I could create some kind of cohesive wall art with all of them. I kicked around a few ideas, hopped on Pinterest for inspiration, and then went to buy a canvas today.

I had a plan to use a canvas with a neat "art" or "create" or "paint" type quote. I was thinking that we would start hanging all of our canvases on the one wall.

I first made a canvas that says "Every picture tells a story..." I included an arrow with four feathers and four hearts (one for each of us).

Then I decided that since I had purchased a two pack of canvases that I would let Annabeth paint one. I taped off sections of it with the idea of writing a special Bible verse. I thought maybe I would use part of our wedding verses or a verse we memorized in school last year. She and I had a lot of fun painting and we also enjoyed leafing through the Bible together looking for inspiration.

My mind kept going back to the arrow I had haphazardly drawn on the "every picture..." canvas. Which led me to Psalm 127:3-5:

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.

It made me smile because just weeks before learning that we were expecting Owen, our pastor had asked us if we were thinking about any more children. Mark replied, "I think our quiver is full" as we were not sure if the Lord would bless us again. And then, He did. Pastor was one of the first to notice that we were expecting and knew weeks before much of our friends and family that #2 was coming. When I read that verse, I am led back to that seemingly random question from Pastor Lee, our hope for another child, and the joy of the Lord filling our hearts and home. 

Annabeth had beautifully, all on her own, painted the canvas ombre style using purple, pink, and yellow. I used a modification of Psalm 127:3-5. "Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from him." I included two arrows for each of our two children and verse 4. Then I added the word "blessed" because we are so blessed and for verse 5. 

This canvas wall is nothing like I intended it to be but led to a beautiful afternoon of painting and delving into the Word with my children. It was a reminder that His plan is always better than mine :) 

Our finished canvas wall.
Now I have to figure out what to do with the
other two paintings that were the start of this whole project.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frugal Friday 147

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Last weekend our neighborhood held a neighborhood garage sale. I was able to find a small highchair for Mark's parents house to keep there for Owen and any other kids who need it. We resisted all other treasures - a truly difficult thing for me to do at garage sales.

- I logged our Pampers and Huggies rewards codes. We reach a 12 month milestone with Pampers Rewards and I was able to choose from 5 freebies. I chose a neat Melissa and Doug music instrument set. It will be a nice addition to the drum and music set that Owen received for his birthday last week. Both the set and shipping were completely FREE! We will give this to Owen as part of his Christmas gift.

- We bought a gift using a 40% off coupon and a gift card making the gift totally FREE! I love being thoughtful while being frugal.

- I had a great offer in my e-mail from PinchME. I was able to choose from a selection of magazines for a FREE one year subscription. I chose InStyle which I used to purchase monthly when working. It was a victim of budget cuts when I left work. I look forward to getting it for FREE for the next year!

- We had been letting Annabeth's hair grow out since it is supposed to be in a bun for her recital tomorrow. It had not grown enough and was looking really straggly. I decided to go ahead and give it a nice cut this week so it could be down and look really nice for recital.

Annabeth with her gymnastics trophy and certificate. 
We are so proud of her hard work and dedication to dance and gymnastics. 

- We had company for at least one meal a day this week. We planned carefully and I tried to use meals that used overlapping ingredients. We also ate the leftovers for the other meals. We love using our home as a place to welcome family and friends.

- I purchased whole milk to make a recipe this week. As we are not milk drinkers, I posted the leftovers on Facebook. A friend traded the rest of the milk for a box of hand-me-downs for Owen. Thank you Alysha!

We are looking forward to a busy dance rehearsal/recital weekend as well as celebrating Father's Day. We are so thankful for our fathers, and our grandfathers who have entered the Life Eternal, as well as our Father in Heaven. We feel so blessed to have our two children and I am so thankful for the father that Mark is to them.

Happy Savings to All!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Welcome Riley Ducklings

Last spring we were very excited when Mark noticed a female duck and her nest in our back yard. We waited and waited for ducklings but sadly something went wrong. We are still not sure why but the duck's eggs never hatched, she just sat on rotten eggs in her nest. Finally, she left the nest long enough one day for Mark to clear it all out. We were sad that we did not get to see any little ducklings and Annabeth became obsessed with rotten things. I mean OBSESSED! For weeks she would say, "Is that rotten?" or "Will that rot?" or "When those rotten eggs coming back?" She even memorized a decomposition song from a Sid the Science Kid video. Finally, by the end of summer, we all moved past it.


About a month ago, Mark spooked a duck while weed eating the back yard. Another duck. Another nest. More eggs. We had already seen a great deal of ducks and ducklings in our area and began to worry with each passing day. Days went by and still our duck and her eggs sat. Annabeth began talking about the rotten eggs again and we wondered if it was the same late-laying duck.

Eventually we named our duck Mama Duck. We went to check on her each day. We talked to her and made checking in on her a little part of our day. As I mentioned on the last Frugal Friday post, we even had our friend come and tag the duck for a research project he is doing. He said it wasn't too late in the year for the eggs to hatch so we had hope again for Mama Duck and her babies.


This morning I was cooking breakfast on the stove, when a shadow by the back door caught my eye. Mama Duck...and...10 ducklings!!!

The kids and I waited until she was away from the door and snuck out to watch them in the yard.

We all had so much fun watching our Mama Duck and Babies!

Welcome Riley Ducklings!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Frugal Friday 146

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- Mark helped our elderly neighbors by mowing their lawn. Mr. W fell and broke his hip and then while in rehab suffered a heart attack. They won't accept any other kind of help but Mark has been maintaining their yard for them.

- Friday night our friends the O'Neals came over. Ben is a Biology professor at Franklin College and is doing a summer project that involves banding and tracking ducks. We happen to have a duck in our back yard with a nest so he came and caught her, banded her, and then released her. Annabeth and their girls enjoyed seeing the eggs and petting the duck. It was all pretty interesting and great entertainment for both families.

Mark captured Annabeth beautifully in this picture.
She is often so curious and so serious at the same time. 

Ben showing everyone the duck.
Ainsley was probably the most impressed.

- Mark did yard work for a friend on Sunday. He made $60 but got a nasty batch of poison ivy that resulted in buying $70 worth of medicine/special soaps + an immediate care visit. We will spend $100+ and he is itchy and in pain. He has decided, since this is the second time this has happened after helping these friends, that he is going to ask them to find someone else to hire. 

- Mark worked half a shift at his part time job.

- The kids and I attended the Grand Opening of our town's Story Walk. Annabeth enjoyed the bounce house, story walk, and a small petting zoo. The event was very crowded so we skipped the free lunch and invited some friends back to the house for lunch. They helped us finish most of the leftovers from Owen's birthday party. I am so thankful for good friends who are willing to happily eat leftovers! :) 

- Sunday and Monday we ate leftovers from Owen's birthday party and had very little food waste as a result. 

- We took advantage of a Kids Eat Free deal while eating out with friends. Saved: $4.99

- Dance recital pictures were taken this week. I put Annabeth in her costumes and took pictures at home before going. We will save a great deal of money by taking and printing our own pictures over buying professional photos. Every year I make a Shuterfly photobook (I wait until I have a code for a free one) of the dance year and like that keepsake more than one (expensive) set of posed photos. 

We had an extremely busy week here and are headed into our busiest week of summer next week - gymnastics spectacular and dance recital week. After that, we are looking forward to lllooonnnngggg lazy summer days outside! 

Happy Savings to All! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Owen's 1st Birthday Shirt: Etsy Finds

We decided last fall that Owen would have a Bear 1st Birthday party because while I was expecting I became obsessed with bears. It also became evident very early on that O is bear like - he loves to snuggle and sleep and he also really loves to growl.

I had picked party invites, decorations, food, etc and then...Owen fell in love with Mickey.

I mean REALLY in love with Mickey!
When he is crying and we cannot calm him down with games or singing, we can turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and he will start cheering and dancing.
It's adorable!

Naturally, I panicked! I love a theme party and always search for the perfect theme for each of our events. Would Owen even like a bear party? Would it be better to throw a Mickey party in honor of his great love?!

Then I realized that I didn't have a birthday shirt for his actual birthday - just a shirt for his party day.

So, I hopped on my Pinterest page and found a cute Mickey shirt I had pinned months before.

I ordered the shirt off Etsy from KinseyCollection in March and was worried about sizing since Owen has grown so quickly. Shop owner Kinsey was so accommodating and made him a 1st birthday shirt in size 2T. She mailed it out very quickly and also offered to make another in case he outgrew it by his birthday.

Not only did his Mickey One shirt come quickly, it was even more adorable than I had imagined!!

I enjoyed working with Kinsey as we messaged back and forth quite a bit.

Our family was so happy to shop with this Christian, pro-life shop owner! Check out her about page for more information on the good work she is doing with a Women's Shelter to encourage expecting mothers.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Frugal Friday 145

Happy Frugal Friday!

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

- While at the lake, we shopped at the Coal Mine Museum garage sale. We found two little school chairs and are excited to get them cleaned up and added to our school room!

- We visited my parents and they sent us home with snack food for the week. Thank you all!

Annabeth and Owen provided us with Memorial Day Duets at Grandmama and Grandpa's house

- My sister cleaned out her closet and I was excited to get two new dresses, a shirt, and shorts from her! I love hand-me-downs! :)

- My Mama ordered new shoes for my Momaw online during a great Memorial Day sale. I suggested she go through eBates and she kindly used my log-in! I received 7% cashback on the purchase. Thank you both!

- I ordered our March, April, and May photo prints on Shutterfly. I combined a 50 FREE prints + 40% off and saved $9.92 to print and ship them all for less than $10! And...I just realized I forgot to go through Ebates :(

- I ordered last minute pictures for Owen's birthday through Walgreen's online photo. I went through Ebates for 7% cashback and saved $1.39 with a 40% off code.

- I did the grocery shopping for Owen's first birthday party and came in $60 under budget!! Woohoo!

We had a great week with Mark off work and Owen's birthday! We love to just be together.

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and first week of June as well!

Happy Savings to All!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

And now he is one...

367 (Leap Year!) days ago, I checked into St. Francis to be induced. I was a nervous wreck but trying to be calm as I prepared for labor with Owen. I had spent most of my pregnancy sorting through my emotions, and medical records, about Annabeth's delivery.

366 days ago, at 6:57 pm, I delivered Owen Merit Riley.
It was a perfect delivery. I held him first.
I remember looking at his face, holding him at just seconds old, and knowing that my life was complete.
I always felt like Mark added to my life, then Annabeth added to our lives, but the moment I saw Owen's face I knew we were complete.

Annabeth and Owen could not have been more different babies.
Her baby year was filled with colic, little sleep, tons of medical appointments, postpartum depression, job changes for Mark, surgeries for me, and so so so many emotions.
Owen's baby year was so easy. He was a wonderful sleeper from the get-go. He took long naps, many times a day. He would squish down in his swing or rock-and-play and be happy for hours. We had a few rough weeks around the 6, 12, and 24 week marks but other than that it was smooth sailing with our chill little man.

The word I have used most to describe Owen is sweet.
He is, I am sure, the sweetest baby who has ever lived.
He is such a complete joy to have in our lives.
He spent the first 8 months of life sleeping right next to me, most nights holding my hand. We have finally been able to move his crib a few feet away from our bed but the first thing he does every morning when he wakes up is reach for my hand.
He is never more than a foot away from me unless he is really happy playing with Mark and/or Annabeth.

I remember spending hours just staring at Annabeth as I held her and nursed her. I have been very intentional about doing the same with Owen. I now know just how fast it all goes. I want to remember it all.

I want to bottle up his little baby face and baby hands and keep them forever in my memory.

He has this gorgeous blue eyes and I love the way he looks at me. I love the way he says my name "A-ma."

I cannot imagine our lives without Owen.
We have so enjoyed making him part of our family this past year.
We look forward to all the days ahead of us that the Lord will give us with Owen.

We spent years talking about having another baby, then we enjoyed waiting for his arrival, then we spent a whole year loving on him, and now, seemingly in the blink of an eye, he is one.

6:57 pm on June 2, 2016 - It's official! He is one! 

Happy Birthday First Birthday Owen Merit.