Lessons Learned from 2014 and Happy 2015 to You!

Happy New Year, everyone!!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and an amazing start to 2015!  I know I tend to begin this way, but apologies again for being so MIA.  My last month of work before maternity leave was all sorts of hectic that it was hard to even check on everyone’s blogs at lunch, but know that you were constantly thought of and that I missed you!

20150102_100614Before I begin, though – serious big shout-outs to The 1500’s, who were kind enough to not only hang with B and I during their SD getaway, but also gave us these amazing Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger duckies for our soon-to-be little one (along with a Warren Buffet book on personal finance for kids)!  Coupled with the Star Wars characters we also received from our baby shower, bath time will be the most epic Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting EVER! 🙂

I’ve officially been on maternity leave for the past two weeks (which fit in well with the holidays, anyway), and while I had hoped our soon-to-be arrival would make an early appearance to maximize the “pre leave” with him, apparently he is telling us “You’re not the boss of me!” as it looks like he might be even later than the expected due date. 🙂 It kind of fits in well as I was two weeks late and B was a few days, so I suppose he’s just keeping with tradition!  Needless to say, we’re anxious to meet him and I’m especially excited to hopefully be able to go to restrooms and turning over in bed soon without having to do a 5-point turn. 😉

I also wanted to reflect a little on 2014 (updates on whether I passed/failed have been updated in my 2014 goals list!), and what I hope to accomplish in 2015 pf-wise.  In 2014, I not only remained debt free, but also managed to accrue a nice sum in my retirement, savings, and investment accounts due to a new job and salary increase, living well below our means, and just becoming more savvy with savings and investing strategies in general.  We’re also thankful and excited about all the wonderful hand-me-downs we received in terms of baby items which saved us quite a pretty penny, and I can’t wait to return that favor to others someday, as well.

I have to be honest, though – despite being debt free all last year and feeling pretty empowered due to it, I did still remain quite anxious and uncertain with myself when it comes to finances.  Though I did give myself allowances for some splurges every now and then, I did still feel insecure at times about “going back” to my spendy ways, regressing in my/our goals, or just not having as much in ‘the reserves’.  I suppose this anxiety is a bit valid with the last component, considering the expenses for this year with daycare and baby expenses, and perhaps buying our ‘forever’ home if we’re lucky enough to find that match we’ve been looking for (especially this one, since 20% down payment is a pretty hefty sum to ‘part’ with).  However, for 2015, I’d like to be more financially confident in my decisions.  I’d like to be able to trust myself in this arena a lot more, so much so that it becomes second nature.  Thankfully, I do have some tools and techniques I can base this off of (i.e., when I maintained my weight loss back in my 20’s and 30’s), but I also know that reading PF blogs and doing ‘self check-ups’ with myself are key in keeping this up.

So with that, I have to be honest in that I’m not sure of when I’ll be able to post again while I’m on maternity leave (though I will at least strive to announce his God-willing healthy and safe arrival!), at least, but I do intend to keep up with all of my PF friends as much as possible!  I hope 2015 brings you lots of health, happiness, and prosperity, and I wish you all the best! 🙂

 

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Star Wars Baby Shower

Heidi-ho, everyone!  I thought I’d share a quick post about my baby shower that took place this past Sunday!  As some of you know, B and I are big Star Wars nerds, so I had my heart set on a Star Wars themed baby shower.  A lot of the ideas I found online (mostly influenced by this birthday party), and I thought catering from Daphne’s, a Greek place that’s not really sit down but not really fast food, either, would fit the theme the most.  I for sure want to take credit for Chewbaklava, and my best friend thought of C3-Pollo. 🙂

The food puns are labeled in the pics, but overall it was so much fun!  I bought some Star Wars stuff here and there and my best friend (who graciously offered us her house for the party) went so above and beyond with decorating it!  I couldn’t have done it better, and I am so grateful on what an amazing hostess she was.  Even more amazing, is that my brother and sister-in-law bought the BEST cake I could have ever asked for.  They said that they wanted to take care of it, and while I expected something cute because my sister-in-law has a knack for finding cute stuff, I was blown away by what she selected!

Overall, it was so much fun, though it felt like a mini-wedding since there were over 50 guests and a ton of kids, so it felt like while I got a chance to talk to people, I somewhat felt rushed talking to everyone.  I think for the most part everyone understood, and I was completely blown away by all the love and generosity given to B and I that day.

Here’s some pics from the event!  Can you guess which one I am in the family pic?? lol

Now that the party is over, it’s definitely nesting period time on ‘roids!  Thank you so much for everyone on their advice about term versus variable life insurance – it definitely influenced us to choose term for all the reasons everyone stated, so I am so grateful for this community!  And, shamelessly, I have another question this time around – do you have a favorite “freezable” meal that you’d like to recommend?  I’m going to attempt to make as many frozen meals as possible this month so hopefully we’ll have a good reserve for when Flash arrives, so I’d love to hear them!

I definitely need to catch up on everyone’s blogs, but I hope everyone’s been doing well!  I hope you have a wonderful week. xo

Pregnancy Notes Round 2!

Hey everyone!  It seems I say this every time, but sorry I’ve been MIA.  Work has officially kicked me in the bum, and recently I’ve been obsessed with finding our ‘forever’ home.  We don’t have a deadline, really, but we hope to find something amazing within the next year or so.  While we know that there’s no such thing as a perfect house, a great school system, reasonable commute, a comfortable place for our kids and parents/in-laws, and a nice kitchen (though I realize this can be remodeled) all within our price range is being taken into account, so it’s a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Despite being able to ‘choice’ schools in the system for houses closer to work, if it’s not a guarantee on a specific house, I tend to be a little risk averse, so I think a longer commute and great school system is more likely (plus, these areas tend to have great trails, so lifestyle wise it would be great).  I guess we’ll see!

I wanted to do a post about home daycare versus corporate daycare since I received so much great advice (especially from An Exacting Life and Shannon at Financially Blonde, thank you!), so I’ll be sure to write up the post and my experiences with it soon!  In the meantime, let’s do another round of Pregnancy Notes: The Good, The Bad, and The Funny!  Enjoy!

The Good

  1. I feel Flash’s movements grow stronger and stronger every week, and it is such an amazing feeling!  He’s most active when it’s super hectic at work or at night when I’m trying to sleep, but I always welcome it.
  2. Said movements are starting to make my belly twitch and wiggle.  B felt it when he had his arm around me and got so excited, I teared up.  Ditto when my dad and sis-in-law felt it – their reactions were priceless.
  3. I am definitely showing more these days, which is great since it takes the guesswork from others whether I just let myself go or not after I got married.  Here’s a recent pic from this past weekend!
  4. preggo
  5. When I made my FB announcement, a couple of others told me they are preggo, too – I LOVE it, and love that I have some friends to compare notes with. 🙂
  6. The baby shower is set, and you best believe we are having a Padawan-themed party!  I found this super cute invite on Etsy and our menu will be copied from these ideas, amongst other ones.  My favorite is Boba Fettucini and Jar Jar Links in a Blanket. 🙂

The Bad

  1. I didn’t really take into account that I’d not only gain weight in my belly, but hips and thighs, as well.  I’ve been doing fine all summer with muumuu maxi’s, but I’ll definitely need to size up my maternity pants come Fall since I’m getting camel toe with my current ones.
  2. Initially they told me that a healthy pregnancy is about a 25-35 weight gain.  At first, I thought, “okay, I’ll shoot for 25 since I’m pretty short.”  Well, I’m about two-thirds there and now weighing in at 22 pounds heavier, sooo… 35 limit it is! 😉
  3. I unfortunately am getting bleeding gums, which is really gross when I wear my retainer (I think I’ve been grinding my teeth, too, at night).
  4. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass my 1 hour glucose test so I have to take the 3 hour test.  Apparently, it’s common amongst my friends and probably people are age, but I just hope I don’t have gestational diabetes.  Please send well wishes that I pass!
  5. Sometimes, Flash is breeched, so while I love his movements, when he treats my bladder like a trampoline that tends to not be my favorite! 😉

The Funny

  1. I’m apparently well acclimated at work now, because a coworker said “Look, you practically have to stick your belly out to show that you’re pregnant.”  Three weeks later, she was like, “Wow, you are GI-NORM!!” lol
  2. The weird dreams continue, sometimes about outlandish results at work and most recently a lot of naughty dreams.  I told B about a naughty dream one day and his response was, “Is that why you were giggling?” wth?! lol
  3. I was at the doc’s one day and he had me lay down and lift up my maxi skirt while he put a blanket on top so he can check for Flash’s heartbeat on my belly.  I was laying down already and said I couldn’t lift it up, thinking that he had slid the bed part of it so that my skirt was caught.  Apparently I had a user-error moment since he responded with, “um, you need to lift your heels, it’s on the skirt.”
  4. Apparently I snore now, and one night I snored so loudly that I woke myself up.  I wondered whether I had imagined it, but my nostrils were pretty sore.

I hope everyone is been doing well, and thank you Alicia and Mackenzie for motivating me to get out of my shell.  Miss you all! 🙂

Almost July Updates – The “Padawan” Edition!

Hey everyone!  I can’t believe it’s almost July in just a few short days!  It’s been quite busy in my tiny corner of the earth, as work is always busy (in a very good way!), and I’m grateful to report that B and I are expecting a little one! 🙂  This first trimester has felt like FOR-ever as I wanted to keep it a secret, but I’ve slowly told family, friends, and coworkers, as well as have now publicly told it on FB.  Here’s some experiences and thoughts I’ve collected these past few weeks!

1)  When I took the pregnancy test, it was the longest 5 minutes ever and I was talking to myself thinking “if not this month, there’s another month, it’s okay, just relax…”  Imagine my disbelief and happy surprise when I saw the second, albeit faint, line!  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I took another one a couple days later with a more sure second line… and then 5 more throughout the week. 😉  I told a couple of friends right away since both are mothers and one’s a nurse, and they’ve been an amazing source of support for every worry, from freaking out that I ate turkey on my panini to did I just harm my baby by using ear wax remover drops.

2) I was kind of freaking out telling work since I started recently, but am relieved to get a tremendous amount of support and happiness for me.  It was also so much fun telling my parents, as I gave them a frame with an ultrasound and a “Grandbaby” poem.  It took them awhile to figure it out (and I think my dad was searching for his reading glasses lol), but I will cherish their reactions for the rest of my life. 🙂

3)  I’ve had no problem playing the baby card any chance I get – I’ve often said “I think Taddy could go for some frozen yogurt” [nicknamed Taddy that week since a website described it as the size/shape of a tadpole] or “Do you mind doing the dishes?  Kinda tired tonight, ya know, growing a human inside me and all.”  B attempted to in the worst way possible when he tried to play the baby card by saying “baby wants sex.” O_o

4) This is the primary reason why my fitness has been pretty basic – equal parts of me still being superstitious/old-fashioned and feeling guilty about “jostling” the kid around whilst running despite all these studies that say it’s okay, and me feeling nauseated anyway after 3 miles.  Around Week 10, I started getting back into 4-5 miles, though only every other day and at 1-2 minutes slower per mile than usual.

5) I’ve been eating salty foods like no other – my favorite are cheddar rice cakes, California burrito (carne asada, guacamole, potatoes, salsa, and cheese in a burrito), tempura bowls, and any panini I can get my grubby hands on.

6) I also tried the complimentary pickle (the second or third in my whole life) that came with a panini to see if I’d start craving those like some pregnant women do.  NOPE, still disgusting!

7) Upon finding out I was pregnant, my coworker stated, “Ooooh, so that’s why you have that whole stash of snacks in the drawer!”  That awkward moment when I reply with, “Oh, no, I always keep that stash around…”

8) I’ve had mild nausea, but am susceptible to crazy heart burn.  A big culprit was vinegar, which is unfortunate because I do love me some daily salad with balsamic vinaigrette.  Now I’m mostly eating steamed veggies and that seems to keep the heart burn at bay.

9) We took a blood test since I’m of ‘advanced maternal age’, and we were beyond grateful to get genetic results back as healthy.  We also found out the sex!  Any guesses? 🙂

10) This is how I announced it on FB… because we’re geeks:

padawan

11) Not going to lie, when the doc showed me the two chromosomes (XX or XY) and asked if I knew what it was, it took me awhile as I went back into my AP Bio class memory to remember. lol

12) Seeing the baby’s heart beat on the ultrasound for the first time with B will easily be a permanent fixture on the Top 3 moments of my life.

Anyway, that’s my news lately, and the biggest reason why I’m more devoted than ever to increasing my savings rate as much as possible these days.  Infant day care, as well as baby stuff in general, is pretty expensive, and finding our ‘forever’ house is still a project for us, so we’re doing all we can to set ourselves up for a secure (as possible) future.  Now your turn – I’d love to hear anything new going on for you, or if you have pregnancy or parenting tips, I’d love to hear it! 🙂