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Taxes, Hard Babies, ThredUp, and Energy Balls

It’s a miscellany Thursday today.   Ready?

I finished my taxes.

Since I’m self-employed, I almost always end up owing money, which means I’m never in a super big hurry to do my taxes.

Tax-filing just gives me varying degrees of bad news.   😉

But, I always funnel more than enough blogging money away to cover taxes and blog expenses, so paying the tax bill is not an actual problem.

turbo tax

Instead of being all, “Oooh, how big will my refund be??” I’m more like, “Oooh, how much money will I have left in my account after I pay taxes?”

I used TurboTax, as usual, although I bought a physical copy this year at Costco.   The Turbo Tax online price seems to be getting higher and higher each year, and the Costco price beat it handily (and included a state filing and free federal e-filing.)

I felt a little silly buying a program on a disc (it’s 2016, for heaven’s sake!) but I did save a lot of money by going that route.

(Incidentally, I noticed that Amazon has a good price for Turbo Tax too.   I’ll remember to check there next year and compare to Costco.)

Some babies are hard.

This NY Times article has been making the rounds (probably mostly shared by exhausted parents!)

baby Joshua

I’m no longer an exhausted parent of a baby, but the article made me think of my early days with Joshua, who was what people would call a “high-needs” baby.

I went into pregnancy and motherhood with chock-full of confidence, and both pretty much knocked me flat.   I had a hard pregnancy (followed by three more hard pregnancies) and Joshua gave me a rough introduction to motherhood once he was born.

I tried EVERYTHING to get my baby to sleep, and nothing worked.   We won’t talk about the nights.   And nothing would make him take more than two 45-minute snoozes in the daytime either.

While it was kind of terrible at the time, in retrospect I feel grateful that my first baby was hard.   If he’d been easy, I would have wrongly chalked it up to my mothering capabilities, and I would have been an obnoxiously self-assured new mom.

He saved me. 😉

FG and baby Joshua

While I do think that parenting has some effect on baby sleep habits, the factor of the matter is that this is a thing that is largely outside our control, especially when we’re talking about babies vs. toddlers/preschoolers.

Zoe, Sonia, and me, circa 2006

Zoe, Sonia, and me, circa 2006

So, we shouldn’t be too proud of ourselves if our babies are easy, and we shouldn’t be too quick to blame ourselves if our babies are hard.

Me with baby Sonia, who did not knock me quite as flat. ;)

Me with baby Sonia

(Side note: If you are an exhausted new parent, hear this: things get better.   In the midst of those hard months with Joshua, I thought I would my life would never approach a semblance of normal again, but it did.   Hang in there! There will be light at the end of this sleepless tunnel.)

I tried ThredUp.

ThredUp is an online consignment store that’s been around for a pretty long time. I’ll write a little more about the experience in another post (not sponsored!), but I feel very positive about it thus far.

One great thing: they accept returns.   This is pretty fabulous, especially when it comes to buying clothes for Lisey or for me (it seems like adult/teen-sized clothes have a less forgiving fit, whereas most of what I buy for Sonia and Zoe works).

thredup logo

You can get $10 off your first order through this link.   (That’s how I placed my first order!   I love introductory discounts.)

(Speaking of introductory discounts….remember back in the early 2000s when e-commerce was just getting started and companies were all sending out codes for $10 off a $10 purchase or $25 off a $25 purchase, just to get people to try online shopping?   Those were some good days for bargain hunters.)

We are digging Energy Balls.

Since Joshua is off to college classes a few times a week, he needs to regularly pack a lunch for the first time in his life.

So, portable foods have been a bit more of a priority at our house, and these no-bake energy balls are fitting the bill pretty nicely.

no bake energy balls

They’re really easy to make, they’re gluten free (as long as your oats are compliant), and egg-free, and they can be modified to be nut-free as well if you use sun butter.

Plus, they taste kind of like chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough, which is pretty awesome.

Here’s the recipe.


And that wraps up this week’s edition of miscellany.

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Saturday 2nd of April 2016

To Moms of Exasperating Babies - A Tale of Hope:

Our first baby was crowned "the most difficult baby in the hospital's newborn unit." Even the pediatrician called my son (at two days old) "a fussbudget."

Benny, who had both colic and reflux, was extremely difficult to put down to sleep. After several months, we tried the "cry it out method" but baby Ben fought tooth and nail - repeatedly working himself into such a frenzy he would puke. He would scream for hours - literally, night after night.

We consulted our pediatrician who told us the method doesn't work for all babies, and we were to just help soothe Ben to sleep "in any creative ways we could." We ended up putting Ben in his car seat for safety and he slept between us in bed for his first year.

His reflux and colic got better - his sleep problems did not.

When Benny was a toddler, my husband and I took turns laying down with him until he went to sleep (our shifts were 30 minutes each.)

Mercifully, our second baby (yes, we managed to have one ) was a textbook sleeper; a poster child for the cry-it-out method. While baby Gracie was in dreamland, Benny still required a good 45 minutes of soothing time Every. Single. Night.

And what happened to our pint-sized, screaming dictator? He eventually became a dream of a sleeper, never fighting bedtime, ever. With God's help, Ben has learned to channel his strong will and is now a great student and state-ranked high school debater. He volunteers in our Sunday School each week.

There is hope.

Brandi K

Friday 1st of April 2016

We have 7 week old twins and are right in the middle of the craziness. The sleep deprivation is no joke, and we are in a constant cycle of diaper changes and feedings. One of our boys is colicky and cries constantly. Yesterday he cried for 8 hours only stopping briefly to eat. We have tried everything we can possibly think of to soothe him. Like someone else mentioned, the reactions of others drive us crazy. People either laugh and say oh, that's parenthood, or give advice to try the most obvious thing like have you tried rocking him. People keep telling us it will get better and I really really hope that is true!

Stephany H

Thursday 31st of March 2016

Hi Kristen! I look forward to making these energy balls- they look yummy! Just an FYI in case someone else hasn't gotten to this already - when measuring honey, peanut butter, or other sticky stuff, first spray the measuring cup with baking/cooking spray (i.e. Pam) to make the ingredients super easy to remove. No more messy scraping out of measuring cups or having to use your measuring-cup-with-water trick. Enjoy!


Thursday 31st of March 2016

Oh dear, this post brings back the memories. My first was the easiest baby ever. Slept well, always happy. Then came my second, never slept more than 1/2 hour nap if he even took one at all. Nights were even worse. he is now 23 and still has sleep issues. But we both survived.


Thursday 31st of March 2016

And that in and of itself is encouraging, you know? When you're in the midst of something hard and you see that someone else made it through alive, it gives you hope.


Thursday 31st of March 2016

My neighbor told me, when my youngest was a baby, not to expect my kids to sleep until they were "useful," that is, they could actually do work around the house! It always made me chuckle and realize that we are just going through a season that will pass!

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