Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Winds of Change Are Blowing

     Well, it's been a while since I've written. Things have been a little crazy around here....or a lot. Our third son, Ezra, was born in early February. Thank goodness my mother came out for the birth and stayed for a few weeks to help my husband and I. I don't know what I would have done without her, or without my husband taking extra leave and being so supportive. He just went back to work this week, and we're in an odd state of adjustment right now.
     As if having a new baby wasn't hard enough we have started potty training Owen, our middle child. Potty training + adjusting to being a big brother = tears. I won't tell you if they're his or mine. Liam seems to be doing well with Ezra, though he's going through a rough patch with me. He's got a passive aggressive form of acting out with me (he doesn't do this with his father). Liam has started to ignore me and basically cut me out of things. He doesn't want to tell me things, he doesn't listen or respond to me when I talk to him most of the time. Getting him to tell me about his day is like pulling teeth. I've been trying to give the elder two some extra attention because I know it's hard when there's a new baby, but I only have so much attention to give. I mean, I have to sleep some time? I'm taking Liam to see Beauty & the Beast tomorrow in an attempt to have some one on one time with Liam. Here's to hoping it goes well.
     On top of everything else, we have found out that my husband got an assignment to Japan! While this is very exciting (and stressful) news, nothing is certain until we get our paper orders. We still have to get medically cleared to go and there is a lot to do before we can leave. As our time gets closer I'll write more. I'd like to chronicle the process, especially since this is our first move overseas.
     So there you have it. Our family has been experiencing a lot of change lately, with more to come, but I hope to get back into our routines in some fashion. I'll be writing again soon, hopefully with some cool PCS news.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How To Score Free Baby Swag

     Since I'm expecting my third bundle of joy in the next few weeks, I've been spending some time nesting. Part of my nesting routine involves a) washing and drying baby clothes and blankets multiple times so I can smell that amazing Dreft baby smell b) organizing and reorganizing clothes and cloth diapers c) cleaning and d) trying to score as much free baby stuff as possible. We all know babies are expensive. From the hat on their heads to the tiny socks covering their tiny toes, babies cost money. New parents, and even parents with a few kids under their belts, can get overwhelmed trying to get everything baby *needs* and some things that baby may want. Hence, my stock pile of free stuff. This pregnancy I decided to use baby registries to score some free baby swag.
     I did have a baby shower (more like a sprinkle since this is baby #3), but my registries really weren't for shower purposes. I created my registries to organize my thoughts on what I actually still needed to get (and some stuff I just wanted) and because if you create a registry somewhere they usually give you a free gift. To maximize my savings I created three registries: Babies R Us, Target, and Amazon. Here are the benefits of each:
1. Amazon: If you complete the registry check list provided by Amazon, have Prime or sign up for a free trial, AND something worth $10+ is purchased from your registry (by you or by someone else) you will receive a free baby box from Amazon full of samples and full sized baby products. You have to make sure you complete your checklist though. You can always take items off after your box is sent if you don't really need/want them. After a few weeks you will also get a 15% off coupon to use one time on any items remaining on your registry that you wish to purchase. Here's a picture of the welcome box I got (excuse my giant baby bump at the bottom of the picture, lol):

2. Babies R Us: You can create your registry for Babies R Us online or in-store. I created mine online and ended up adding things on the next time I stopped by the store. Using that little barcode gun is so much fun! If you create your registry in-store you will get a swag bag at that time, if you've created it online all you have to do when you go into the store is walk up to the registry center and tell them you created a registry online and ask for your bag. Your bag will be full of samples, baby bottles, etc. After your shower you will get an email with a coupon for a % off whatever is remaining on your registry. The best thing I received in my bag was a Twist breastfeeding starter pack. It's something like a $30-$35 value! I like the Twist system because you can use it with any kind of pump.

3. Target: As with Babies R Us you can opt to create your registry in-store or online. If you create your registry in-store they give you your bag there, if you do it online all you need to do to claim your bag is go to the customer service desk and ask for your bag. Just tell them you made your registry online. The Target bag had a lot of coupons (some for Starbucks so you can have a coffee or tea while you peruse the baby asiles) and samples, including an Advent bottle. You will also get a 15% off coupon to use one time on anything remaining on your registry after your shower date. 

Here's a run-down on everything that I got for free:
  • (2) Advent bottles
  • (1) MAM bottle w/a pacifier inside
  • (2) Pampers Swaddler and wipe samples (newborn size) in a reuseable pouch w/coupons
  • (1) Honest Diapers sample- 2 diapers + 10 wipes
  • (1) Nuk pacifier
  • (1) Lansinoh nursing pads & milk storage bags sample
  • (1) Twist breastfeeding starter pack
  • (1) Oball O-copter baby toy
  • (2) Munchkin Latch disposable nursing pads
  • (1) 80ct pack of Amazon brand sensitive baby wipes
  • (1) Swaddle Designs muslin swaddle blanket
  • coupons and special offers
  • Samples of: Aquaphor, Seventh Generation laundry detergent & lotion, Mustela baby wash & stretch mark cream, Aveeno lotion, Boudreaux's Buttpaste
I made sure to purchase things I needed from each registry so I wasn't swindling these businesses. Like I said before, babies are expensive and every little bit helps. All three registries were easy to set up, but I had to jump through the most hoops for the Amazon box. It was totally worth the time though. Good luck and happy shopping!