28 March 2013

Magic Months

This afternoon, shortly before nap time, my apartment was eerily silent. Abigail was somewhere, doing something bad, but for 5 minutes, I didn't want to care. The baby gates were closed off, so I knew whatever she was doing couldn't be that bad. So I just let there be silence until my guilt levels were too high to ignore. I went out hunting and stumbled upon this:

I had left out Matt's old law school textbooks (I had been using them as steps during physical therapy), and Abigail discovered them. She was flipping through it gently, carefully, not tearing or bending any pages. Just turning, reaching the end and starting over. She became a bit frantic when she thought I was trying to take it away.

Since we last spoke, I've picked up a new frugal habit.

Herbs. I wanted to do this during the 31 Days Campaign, but never did. Then the winter struck and it was too cold in our apartment to do anything. But Matt found these little $1 kits at Target for basil and cilantro. It came with seeds, dirt, and a little green house. Above you can see the cilantro - they are only good in the little green house until they are 3 inches tall. Anyway, I'm excited to begin harvesting, learn how to dry, and make some seasoning. I really want to grow some mint so that my kitchen will always smell amazing (I'm a mint junkie).

I also reached the end of my first month of meal planning. I have to say, it went really, really well. I found that the best part of a meal plan is actually also the best part of having a Rule of Life: dinner doesn't get thrown off when my day does. Significantly less pancake dinners, significantly less grabbing of a Hot 'n Ready. When Abigail's sick or laundry takes forever (damn community washers) or I have a last-minute appointment, I already know what's for dinner and I know I have the ingredients in the cupboard. There were a few times I ruined dinner (I suck at non-instant rice) and a few when I forgot to pre-soak the beans, and we ended up with a slacker dinner, but the days were significantly fewer than they were the month before. I also noticed a serious savings in the food budget. We were able to buy everything for Easter (basket, candy, toys) and transfer a fair bit of money to the household and entertainment budgets without scrimping (in the future, we plan to slowly cut back the food budget and funnel the extra money as outlined in our Dave Ramsey money plan). Lastly, I don't really struggle with excess food in my cabinets or throwing away expired food from the fridge, but I can see how a meal plan would easily eliminate those problems.

In sum, meal planning takes work, but I think it is worth the payoff.

(Side note: I plan to write a more extensive post about my Rule of Life now that I've finished the book and lived it for a few months next week, so stay tuned if you're interested).

Today I official moved Abigail in to her 18 month clothes. I find this an exciting time because I really enjoy dressing Abigail up and having a new palette with which to work is way fun. I buy her clothes primarily from Carter's (on sale with a coupon) and from used kid clothing stores. I really like the used kid store because I can afford brands otherwise too expensive. And I personally love Gap Baby clothes.

One time I went in the actual Gap Kids retail store. I practically gagged on the price tags.

Matt and I thought Abigail looked particularly adorable today in her hooded number with some skinny jeans.

No offense to cute kids everywhere, but you haven't lived until you've seen Abigail toddle in some skinny jeans. So. Freakin'. Cute.

Anyway, the warmer temps as of late have allowed us to re-institute evening family walks. These last two evenings, we even stopped by a park for a few minutes to let Abigail play. She's come along way since last fall. Now we can hold her hands while she toddles across the little bridge and slide down the slide on the toddler playground.

She's really growing a lot. They say that ages 12-24 months are the "magic months" for typically developing kids - once they can walk, they really start to develop a personality and grow cognitively. They say that for kids with Ds, those months are from age 2 to 3. Abigail is hitting her stride a bit early, 22 months, but she is really, really getting the hang of things. The developments are almost daily.

She's getting so big. But at the same time, she's still so little.

Under 20 lbs and not yet walking.

I guess this is what they mean when they say "enjoy every stage." I want so badly for her to be walking, but with each passing day, I see more and more little girl as my baby fades away. Permanent only in my memory.

But I look forward to the Abigail I have yet to meet. The one who is developing more and more each day. The one who will one day say "I love you" and hold my hand when we walk. But in the meantime, I'll take the advice of the little old lady at the grocery store and enjoy each step. Each crazy step.

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