A Delightful (Really!) Bridal Shower Game

I feel kind of ambivalent about showers. As the guest of honor, it’s overwhelming to have so much attention lavished on you (and I’m obviously someone who likes attention.) The games are usually cheesy, although I always like the food.

Last week I attended the shower of this lovely friend of mine (the girl planning a grey and yellow wedding in a month!) and my mom was asked to organize the game portion of the evening. My mom asked me to do a little brainstorming, and so I turned to my Weddingbee friends to ask what shower games they had experienced and loved.

I decided to try out a game that incorporated the story of the couple.

I emailed the bride and asked her to write up their story as a couple. I then rewrote it, adding in as many “rights” and “lefts” as possible. If I was writing out my own story with That Husband, I would write something like this:

That Wife was starting to think that marrying That Husband would be the right thing. Unfortunately he had already left for Dallas! She made a decision right away that she wanted to fly down and visit him as soon as possible. That Wife wondered how long it would take them to get married, because she had right around 30 credits left during her time at BYU.

My mom wrapped up 5 different prizes, and we passed them out to different people in the circle. We directed those holding a present to pass it right or left every time they heard the word “right” or “left”. I stood in the middle to read the story, and just before I started we decided that any time I said the name of the couple, the gifts had be tossed across the room to the person opposite.

This was the winning element to the game! As you can see, the gifts were flying, everyone was laughing, and those present learned a few things they didn’t know about the couple when they walked in the door.

When I finished the story, the person holding the gift unwrapped it and kept whatever they found inside.

I plan to use this for any and all showers I host/come up with games for in the future. And I think I’ll brainstorm a way to tweak it for baby showers as well.

Are there any other shower games I should consider adding to my arsenal?


Cost of Having a Baby

I cost that much mom?!?!?

Lots of requests for the text of the email I wrote regarding baby costs, but I’m not going to paste in the one I complained about in my previous post, I’m going to show a different one that I wrote to Beka which goes into much more detail. It was written before I had T1, and I’ll go ahead and note any areas where I’ve since changed my mind below. For those who are wondering, Beka did reply to my monster email with a very sincere  message that explained what she got out of my somewhat jumbled list of thoughts, which I really appreciated.

Below I’ve created a giant list of all of the expenses I can think of for a baby for the first year. I’ll probably just copy and paste the whole thing over to my blog someday, and I have you to thank for getting me to write this all up.

Things we are cutting out

-First home. By agreeing not to purchase a home for several years, and prioritizing children and family over settling into a home, we are saving an incredible amount of money. We plan on moving a lot for husbands job and who knows how long we will stay in an apartment, or if a terrific deal will come up in a place we are planning on staying long term, but we are going to be renters for a long while yet.
-Nursery. It’s for the parents, not the baby. It’s a little tough when I see people blogging about it, but I haven’t purchased a single “nursery” item yet. No crib, no bedding, our dresser will be non-matching and ugly (I might sand it down and paint it though!), no decor, no mobiles, and the glider/rocker will be used off of Cragislist and probably hideous to see.

Areas we are saving

-Cloth diapering. I estimate our savings will be at least $1000 by choosing cloth over disposable. A great chart that talks about ALL the costs of cloth diapering and compares them to disposable can be found here.
-lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding, which will help with breastfeeding and means we will save money on formula if I don’t give up when I would have otherwise
-Cosleeper bassinet. We are going to get a pack-n-play (used of course), but we aren’t buying a crib which saves us at least $100 if we were planning on getting a used one.
-Dressing baby only in onesies or gifted clothes in the beginning. I will have to start buying clothes eventually, but I’m planning to buy used/Goodwill when I can (if I shop at thrift stores why can’t the baby?), hoping for a girl because my mom saved a bunch of baby clothes from when my sister and I were small, and I know since it’s the first grandchild for my parents that my mom is going to go nuts buying us stuff.
-Making own baby food. I plan on exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months, so food will be free for 6 months, but after I introduce solids I don’t want to buy foods produced by someone else.
-Not finding out the gender, which means everything we are buying before baby (which really isn’t much) is gender neutral, so when we have our second one we won’t have to feel weird about putting the boy in the girly stroller or something.
-Choosing a home birth over the birth center saved us $1000. Yep, they charge $1000 for you to labor for something like 24 hours!
-No child care. I’ll scale back my business to handle the demands of the baby as necessary. Being self-employed gives me the freedom to do that. Although, if Jenna Cole really takes off I can potentially see us looking into some childcare where we have someone come over and help watch the baby so I can get some work done. That isn’t in our immediate plans right now.
-Exclusively breastfeeding. Formula can add over $1000/year to your grocery bill.

Area we could have saved

-Finding a CNM (certified nurse midwife) instead of a CPM (certified professional midwife). CNMs are covered by most insurances, I just couldn’t find one I liked and having a care provider that was a right fit for me was worth more than saving the money.

Gifts we have recieved
-Car seat (a sweet friend sent this to us free of charge when she had two to get rid of after her twins outgrew them)
-Onesies, I think we have l like 8 now? We definitely need more!)
-Recieving blankets (a Christmas gift from my grandmother)
BeaBea Babycook, Steams/Purees/Defrosts baby food. Should prevent us from needing to buy anything in jars.

Items Purchased
-Maternity Clothing Total = $623
$188 Gap/Old Navy= 1 nursing bra, 4 shirts, 2 dresses (all bought on sale for 20% off with free shipping, ordered over $1000 worth over clothing, tried it all on, kept a few that fit me best, send it all back and paid $6 shipping)
$87, Target=2 shirts, 2 dresses, 1 pair of tights, 1 pair black pants, 1 pair of rainboots (for maternity shoot)
$40, Ross/TJMaxx= 3 black stretchy dresses, not maternity
$268.42, Motherhood Maternity = 1 winter coat for $50, 1 dress for $70, 1 pair of jeans for $70, 1 jacket for shooting weddings, 1 shirt for under jacket for shooting weddings
$40, Shade.com = 4 basic stretchy shirts

There are definitely areas that you can save on maternity clothing where I could not. My religious beliefs impose some restrictions on the way I dress which means everything needs to have sleeves and be at least to my knees. I tried to buy on sale whenever I could but there are definitely areas where I had to spend a bit more because of this (such as the $60 dress I have from Gap and the $70 dress from Motherhood Maternity, both are nice and long and fit me best of all, I’m glad I splurged on them). I am glad I splurged on a nice pair of jeans that fit well and make me feel good. I only have one pair of jeans right now, but I actually only have one pair of regular jeans anyway. 🙂 I’m pretty proud of the wardrobe I have been able to put together for $600.
-Prenatal vitamins, $235, I’m taking a multivitamin, choline, and omega-3 oil capsule
-Stroller, $118, Definitely my biggest splurge so far, but I really love it! (http://twitpic.com/pd82j)
-gDiapers diaper covers, $170.24 (50% savings off the retail price!) for 6 large, 6 medium, 6 small, I still need to buy inserts (we are going to mix the disposable (expensive) and the handmade washable (cheap)), our total diaper cost (including the cost of laundry detergent/water in the washer) should be around $800 over a 2 year period I think
-Bella Bands, bought on sale from a daily deals site, 2 for $32.50 with shipping from BabySteals.com. The only colors left were a bright turquoise and a silver, which I’ve been able to work with.
-EpiNo, a device for stretching the Perineum and preparing for labor, considered an essential purchase for my husband who believes avoiding any tearing is a top priority (and I’m glad!), purchased for $250
-Blanket, super soft and oh-so-pretty, $15
-Onesie from Etsy that I couldn’t pass up, $15

Things we will buy new

-Wipes, I estimate we will spend something like $300 on wipes over the 2 years of the babies life based on some quick internet research, though that could be very wrong!
-Wipe warmer, from my reading this can be crazy helpful for nighttime changings so baby isn’t startled awake. Looks like they can be purchased for between $20-30
-Baby tub, I want this one but it’s a total splurge. Babies just bring so much clutter! $40
-Nightlight, $10. Only buying new because finding a used one probably isn’t worth the effort. 🙂
-Socks, $20
-Onesies, $40
-Sleepsack, $20, great way to keep baby warm and reduce the chances of SIDS
-Miracle blanket, $30, this is the swaddling blanket I’ve heard the most raves about
-My Breast Friend nursing pillow, $35, the nursing pillow most lactation consultants seem to love
-Diaper pail and liner, $30
-Cloth diaper wet bags, $30
-Disposable diapers to use as burp cloths, $15
-Diaper bag, $50 (this will be another area I splurge as I’d like to have something I don’t despise since I’ll be dragging it around with me everywhere I go)

Things we will buy used
-Bouncer seat (Craigslist), $20
-Glider/Rocking Chair (Craigslist), $100
-Cosleeper (We are going to use something like this), $30
-Pack-n-Play, $50
-Dresser, $50
-MP3 player and Dock for playing white noise, $30
-Baby Bjorn baby carrier, $20


-Home birth/midwife fee, $3000 (this covers all prenatal care, the birth, and one follow-up visit at home)
-Lactation consultant, hopefully we will only need one or two visits, which I estimate should cost around $150
-Renting a hospital grade pump, $70/month (I’ll probably want to use for 4 months?), $280
-Slings, I plan on buying several to find one that really works for me, I’m budgeting $100 for this although that is just a guess

When you add all of that up, and tack on another $500 for stocking the medicine chest, buying clothes once baby grows out of the newborn stage, laundry detergent, high chair (used of course, bottles, an increase to the grocery budget for items to use for baby food, potentially a used crib in our future once we head off to business school in the Fall, well baby visit co-pays, and a few other things I’m sure I haven’t thought of, the total comes out to about $7000 for the first year of life, including the home birth. If we were like our friends and birthed in a hospital for $15 (no joke! husband’s insurance is really good), our cost would have fallen to around $4000.

This post by my friend Julia might help you, I loved it when I read it: http://julia-transition.blogspot.com/2010/01/money-and-babiesyou-know-usual.html

If you are thinking of going back to work you need to research costs of day care, professional wardrobe, gas, wear and tear on car, professional wardrobe, networking with colleagues (are you expected to attend social events or other things that will cost you money in some way?), lunch away from home, cost of formula if you can’t figure out a pumping schedule, etc. It is my understanding that in most cases, couples don’t really save that much money by having the mother go back to work, although in a part-time situation like you were describing it might be different. Some quick googling didn’t bring me any answers on how to estimate this but if you spend some time researching I”m sure you will find some answers.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And when you have the baby. I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t sacrifice to be going through this very thing right now.

Notes from the other side:

Ahh, the naivete of someone who thought they could make breastfeeding happen no matter what. That was definitely an area where we didn’t save anything! And we abandoned cloth diapers for our time in Chicago which means we probably ended up paying more for diapers for our first child than the average family.

You can see a nice long list of the baby gear we ended up purchasing (and the things we regretted) here.

We received many more gifts after my baby shower and after I had the baby.

The biggest clothing cost so far has been shoes. He needs new ones every 3 months or so, and since he has super wide feet they often cost around $40. Preventing him from going shoeless has turned into a very costly endeavor! I try to be pretty frugal with T1’s clothing, lots of thrifted pieces, lots of Carter’s sets from Costco, and lots of gifts, although I admit there are a few new pieces mixed in here and there.

There may be some cash transactions Mint doesn’t have, but based on our credit card statements so far we have spent:

$600 on clothing/shoes
$3,485 on pregnancy/birth
$4,911 on baby supplies (diapers, formula, wipes, everything that we bought specifically for T1)

Coming in at just under $9000 for the first 15 months isn’t bad when my original estimate was $7000 for 12 months (remember my original estimate included cloth diapering and breastfeeding). Imagine what it would have been if we went all out decorating a nursery and buying top-of-the-line car seats, strollers, and high chairs!

So, who still wants to have a baby? It’s worth it, I promise!

Scheduling Future Posts with Blogger and WordPress

It’s late Sunday night and I’m writing all of my posts for the week through Saturday (including this one). Instead of overwhelming you with 6 posts in a matter of hours, I space them out and schedule them to go up at 12:00 am each day. It’s really easy to do, see for yourself.

In WordPress when you create a new post the default setting is to publish immediately. Simply change the date and time to your desired date/time in the future and hit “OK”. After hitting OK, the blue button that says “Publish” will turn in a blue button that says “Schedule.” Now when you click schedule it will automatically go up at the time you previously specified.


You can do it with Blogger too.

Create a new post, click on “Post Options” in the bottom left corner, and then change the date and time to whatever future time you would like your post to go up on. When you click the orange “Publish Post” button it won’t go live until the date and time you specified. Easy right?


Just make sure that you have the correct date and time set in your settings panel so that when you set your post to go up at midnight your time it doesn’t end up going up at midnight Russias time or something. Then you get all frustrated and call your blogging platform an idiot. Then you figure out the problem and your cheeks get hot and you apologize to your lovely blogging platform for always being so smart and doing things exactly the way it should.

Amateur Snapper

Oohhh Elizabeth sent me an awesome link today.

Amateur Snapper is full of tips and tricks and I’ve been pouring over it myself for a good while now loving all of the techniques they talk about.

Painting with light

Composition rules

Photographing candles

Tips for beginning wedding photographers

dSLR or not, this site has something for everyone I promise. Head on over, I think their tips will make a difference in your photos!

Time Management

It’s 9:00 pm and I am just now beginning Tuesday post, and I can’t put if off much longer or I’m going to have to start  my 365 day blogging challenge all over again. Today I worked on incorporating some of the activities I haven’t been making time for back into my day, such as exercise, spending some time outside (alright, alright, I spent 30 minutes out by the pool getting some sun!) and studying. Jenna Cole Photography already has me stressed to the max and adding more things to my to-do list forced me to answer the phone saying “That Husband, let’s just get scriptures study over with, I don’t have time to talk tonight.”*

Now, more than ever, my time management skills are crucial. My classes have a January deadline, I’m working to get my core strong before I get pregnant, I want to lose weight before my sisters wedding, and my business reputation is based in part on my ability deliver results in a timely manner. My days of spending hours blogging (whether writing or reading) are over, and I’m working on developing some skills that will help me stay on track.

  1. Only 30 minutes of internet in the morning when I wake up. Setting a time limit forces me to get out of my chair, exercise, eat, clean up the house, and get my studying in for the day.
  2. Designate someone close to you to be someone you can report to. I think choosing your spouse or significant other works best, because for me, I know that giving a negative report on my progress can create discord in our relationship, something I would like to avoid (and can easily avoid, if I well exercise some discipline).
  3. Decide what time of day you thrive during. Mornings are bad for me because I have a hard time getting on task. When the sun sets and bedtime is approaching I’m able to kick things on gear, so that is when I do most of my Jenna Cole related things; editing, answer emails, etc.
  4. Set up a system of small daily rewards. I look forward to watching America’s Next Top Model on YouTube or Lie To Me on Hulu while I edit.
  5. Save the task that is easiest for you for last. I love editing my photos so I save that for the end of the day (unless I get behind, then I bump it up a little bit to catch back up.
  6. Make To-Do lists. I use Remember The Milk, and I add every single thing I want to do that day, or need to do in the near future to my “Today” task list. Crossing each one of them off my list gives me mucho pleasure, matched in very few situations.

I hope things will improve so I can answer the phone with a smile on my face the next time my hubby calls, instead of cutting things short with my crabby tone and insisting we get to the “Goodnight” part of our conversation.

What are the time management tricks you use to stay on task?

*He does this to me all the time when his consulting firm acts like 16 hour workdays are no big deal.