Family


Experiment Child is 6months

Seeing all the cute baby photos I decided I wanted to do photos for my baby but knowing how crazy expensive they are and our budget isn’t quite ready for that I decided to do my own little photoshoot! What perfect occasion to do it on then my baby’s 6 month mark! Our poor experiment child is receiving all sorts of different strategies as we are learning to see what works for us as parents and also what her individual needs are.  11714502_10153056094043590_127490080_n

  • First Baby Sign language is the milk sign
  • Has been eating solid food. She knows how to chew and bite foods
  • Is rolling all over the place and sometimes does the plank
  • Is starting to sit on her own
  • Is finally sleeping in the car
  • Cleft Lip surgery is recovering well still working on massaging it daily

11667130_10153056094163590_1779461470_n 11720511_10153056096308590_52466808_n 11736912_10153056104453590_612965484_n

  • Favourite food is mango
  • Is able to put herself to sleep
  • Drinks 6-7oz
  • Loves watching signtime
  • Weighs approx 15 lbs
  • Smiles Laughs and Giggles but takes time to warm up to strangers

11713636_10153056094093590_1941365622_n  11733281_10153056107468590_1613511194_nIts super fun watching our “experiment child” progress. We have used a couple of non conventional methods with her such as the Baby Led Weaning method to introduce foods to her. Sleep training method this was extremely difficult and heart wrenching for me! Still is at times but with my husband’s work and study schedule it had to be done. We are also teaching her baby sign language. We are slowly implementing a no technology unless it’s baby sign time but i’m thinking of cutting that out eventually too. And lastly essential oils for pretty much everything.  So lets all hold our breath for whatever the next experiment may be. haha


July Goals

My favorite month of the year!! Why you say.. because its my birthday month!!! Yay even better living here in the US its summer time and it feels like the whole country is in party mode this month! Fireworks and all!!!

So I have decided to set monthly goals to work on as I am all about personal development learning and growth. Because what better birthday present to give myself than a better me!!! I decided to set a goal for all 4 areas faith fitness family and finance, if it’s to much next month I will probably just cut it down to two.

Faith – 21 day Book of Mormon  Testimony Challenge (our stake leaders challenge for us)

Fitness – Junkfree July (i know no birthday cake for me haha)

Family – No Social Media between 5-9pm – want to make sure I have QT with the family.

Finance$20 Weekly Grocery Budget – So it can help me buy the necessary things at the grocery store to prevent wastage. (Usually there are lots of things at the bottom of the fridge that I forget about and end up having to throw away because I don’t use!)

What are your goals for this fabulous month? Would love to hear and see your progress! Wish me luck. Don’t forget how beautifully amazing you are!


9 tips Before Buying your First Home

image

It’s been awhile since I have posted but it’s because we have had lots of house projects going on…But all that aside today I have decided to write about my learning experience while buying our first home. We officially moved in on valentine’s day so it’s nearly been 4 months.  Below is the time line of the whole process, a lot longer than most realtors would prefer, but was perfect for us!

Timeline 

Started House Shopping – August 2014

Found this house & Applied for Grant and Mortgage – November 2014

Put offer in – December 2014

Grant Accepted – January 2015

Closed – January 2015

Moved in – February 2015 YAY!!

Seeing it was our first time there were lots of unnecessary drama than I would have liked. Looking back to save us the hassle I would have preferred working with a realtor, but seeing the owner was going to just make us pay for the realtor by including it in the cost of the house   we decided to forfeit on that idea. Luckily we had a awesome mortgage lady who helped us out a tonne!!!

Here are my 9 tips for Before you buy your first home!

1. What can you afford? You decide what you canNot what the bank tells you you can afford!! Go over your expenses and your income. Seeing my husband is still a full time student and working full time, and assuming eventually I will become a stay home mum we only factored in one income. This was a safe option for us because we never wanted to be estimated on two incomes just incase one of us lost our jobs.  Good rule of thumb for us was to keep our house payment between 1/4  to 1/3 of our monthly income. So if I earn $4000 a month then house payment should be approx $1000. (I know I am being extreme with this staying on the safe safe safe side.)
2. Location. This comes in handy once you decide to sell your house. A key selling point is if there are good schools in the area many families look to this as one their top priorities when buying.
3. Duration of Stay. My husband and I decided that we were wanting this house to be ours between 5-7 years. If you don’t stay in a house long enough you end up losing more money with all the transaction costs that are involved. So ensure that you are in it for at least 3 years or rent until you are certain about your purchase.
4. Goals. We set a goal that if we were to buy a house we were going to rent out the basement. This was an important criteria to us because my husband was working and studying and I would eventually be staying at home with the kids so we needed some kind of replacement for my income. Researching the renting market in our area we figured that renting out the basement would cover our monthly mortgage payment and all we would have to pay for would be utilities. To be honest it was extremely hard finding a house that met this criteria and within our budget but we managed to compromise a little to find a house that we could rent out the basement.
5. Emergency account.  I cant stress this enough make sure you have some cushion in this area. We set aside at least 6 months of savings just in case something broke in the house a car or a emergency trip to NZ. haha  If you don’t have a good chunk of savings you could end up kissing that house goodbye before you know it.
6. Investment not a love affair. Use your head rather than your heart to buy a house. Yes it needs to feel right but at the end of the day your house is an investment asset. The colour of paint or carpet or location of the kitchen will not add to the bottom line.
7. Newer isn’t always better. There are many out there that flip houses don’t get me wrong I love them shows! But when a slab of paint and new carpet can justify them increasing the price $40,000 HECK NO!!! Let me do the work for $5000. We all love the feeling of walking in to our house already done ready for living but calculate how much you would be saving if you did the work yourself. And TBH who really wants to move into a fixer upper NO ONE! But if you are like me and have the time on your hands and have awesome family members who are kind enough to help out it may be worth saving you $35,000 or more!
8. Savings. You need to have a good chunk saved up for emergency money AND  your down payment. We calculated how much downpayment we needed by working out how much we wanted to spend each month.. Because we wanted our monthly payment to be lower we had to put in a higher down payment. So be prepared with your savings! Make sure not to put all your money in your down payment and then nothing for emergency try find a good amount for both.  Another thing we also did was we stayed for free at an elderly lady’s house and did work around the house for her for a year. If you don’t mind a situation like that, you may be able to rack your savings up faster or just live at home with the parentals!
9.Funding Programs. Last and final tip is do your research for FREE MONEY! We applied for a housing grant that gave us $5000 which was awesome, they do have some requirements as in you need to earn under a certain amount and the house needs to be your primary residence. But that helped us out significantly for our down payment.
Are you looking to buying or do you prefer renting? Have you recently just bought a house what would your tips be? Comment and share your thoughts below!

6 lessons my “FOB” Parents taught me

imageHow many of you were embarrassed by your parents growing up?… tell the truth… what your friends might think of them in their lavalava and jandals or hearing them talk in their fob accent.  Going to a predominantly white primary school this was always my fear, especially when it came to parent interviews.!  But now I can say I am loud and proud of their fobness. I’ve finally just learnt to embrace it after all these years! But just want to take a moment to share the wonderful lessons my fobby parents managed to teach a prideful self-centered teenager.

  1. EducationI learnt to value Education. My parents would say… “Ged a gud edugation” (in their accent) “If I went to school here I would already have a degree! See the kids on the island they all want to come here to go to university!” These phrases would be on repeat like a broken record. Education was always the topic when we had family meetings, dinner, or when we did something bad. Somehow everything was tied back to school  whether it was doing the dishes or watching tv  they would always manage to link it back to the topic of education.image
  2. God – I learnt to trust a higher being. How many of you get annoyed your parents “force” you to go to church? You had a late night and they still kicking you out of bed to go to church! This was mine, but it was during those hard times when I couldn’t talk to my parents or friends I knew I could trust God. I knew He would understand me when no one didn’t. I could talk to him through prayer and He would communicate to me through the scriptures.
  3. Sacrifice I learnt the importance of hard work. We all have stories of how our parents had to and  still work long hours, at several different jobs. Dad had been a taxi driver, worked at a supermarket, also studied part-time, while mum worked graveyard shift in a factory! If this isn’t sacrifice I don’t know what is?
  4. Take Risks I learnt to take calculated risks. Can you imagine leaving your family, friends, all that you knew to come to a country where you didn’t even speak the language, and you didn’t even feel welcomed. Moving from a kickback to a fast pace money driven economy. Talk about their worlds being flipped upside down. What if they never took this risk, where would I be? What are you doing to take it to the next level for your family and your future generations?
  5. Give Give Give  I learnt to give freely. So many times my parents gave away our clothes, money, time, our space to anyone and everybody who needed. I was always annoyed and frustrated because I was always being inconvenienced. I remember my 3bedroom house being occupied by 3different families. No matter how little they had they were always willing to give.
  6. Gratitude – Be grateful for whatever you have. There is always someone in the world who is worse off than you. We had so “little” in comparison to the kids in my school, we bought second hand clothes and only got new outfits for christmas. To my parents we were spoilt but to my friends I was poor. Gratitude is a perspective that you define. Choose to be grateful.
image

My Amazing Parents!

I am loud and proud of my parents and their achievements in their lifetime. It may not be deemed like much in the eyes of society but their works speak volumes and have paved the path for many generations to come.

What are some lessons that your “FOB” parents have taught you? Share, comment like!

 


Spanking Ends with ME!

image

(WARNING: long post)

Shoe, Belt, Wooden  Spoon, Broom, Electric Cord all of this has something in common, for me it was one of the few ways discipline was role modeled in my life.

Its one thirty in the am and I have had this pressing thought which is preventing me from sleeping right now. Especially with mothers day coming up I have been reflecting on what kind of mother I want to become and therefore I have decided to write about this topic. Warning this may be a extremely sensitive or controversial topic to some of you out there. I am by no means an expert or the perfect example but wish to share my personal experience as a New Zealand born Tongan on this topic of Spanking.

Some may say well those methods worked for my parents, it worked for me and it will work for my kids. This form fo discipline was used on me until I got to a ripe age of 21 then my parents decided I was old enough to make my own choices. But I CHOOSE to declare and end it with me. I also believe it DID NOT work for me. You may say but Tracy it did work for you, you finished school, got a degree from university, you didn’t add to the statistic of teen pregnancy, polynesian dropouts, and you have never tasted a drop of alcohol!

image

My parents both role modeled the best and the worst form of discipline. The best discipline was during the times that they didn’t even realize they were teaching me… it was the times when we were calm,  sharing thoughts, stories, laughing together we would share our hopes, desires and wishes for the future. They would tell us stories of how hard it was back in their childhood, the little that they had. They would express how they wanted us to be happy, to be successful and be better than they were. We would  also see first hand their sacrifices working long nights, several shifts at different jobs to make ends meet.  Those were the times when they were really teaching us about love, about hard work, sacrifice, respect, perseverance, and dedication. Their daily mundane examples in their everyday life taught me that I wanted to make them happy, it motivated me to be obedient to them, it motivated me to stay out of trouble so I can accomplish that which they spoke of, and inspired me to try my best. Those lessons could NEVER be learnt during the times I was getting a “hiding” or “spanking” all this caused was resentment, bitterness, anger and frustration.

However I don’t blame my parents fully about the way they disciplined me, at that time they didn’t know any other form of discipline other than that which was remodeled to them.  Growing up in NZ I saw many kids who never got a spanking in their life and still ended up being successful in school and in careers. Envious of these kids and their lifestyle I thought to myself how is that possible? Is there really another way… and if there is I want that!  So for me I had to retrain my way of thinking and practice a new form of discipline I had never seen remodeled. I have had to start at the beginning and learn it on my own. It’s not easy because my old ways are so ingrained that I tend to fall back on them by default so I have to always catch myself.

Please hear me out… Give me a chance to explain my logic that goes against the grain of the traditional views of my culture… No im not fie palangi… I’m just trying to find a way I know would please my Heavenly Father. I know that I  could never see him hitting an innocent child as a teaching method. I also know that he loved the little children so much, and we are raising them so they know of His love and turn to him. Therefore I have compiled a few ideas that I have been learning and pondering about as a new parent.

Firstly know that everything is a cycle! What your child sees you do will just come around! E.G I always saw my mum make my grandma a full on dinner for her breakfast every mother’s day, she would wake up at 5am to cook everything and she would sew her a dress so she could wear to church that sunday. So when I grew up that’s exactly what I wanted to do the same for my mum. We would make her a full on breakfast in bed and I would buy her a new outfit for church. So if your kids see that you hit them to get your point across, they will do likewise. They will do the same to others around them whether it’s their younger siblings or peers at school.

Secondly, understanding your relationship with your child. I do believe in respecting your elders but not only elders we respect everyone. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully irrespective of color age gender or race! To receive respect you give respect. My parents believed in the idea that because I am older than you I am the boss of you and you listen to everything I say. I am right all the time and what you have to say is inferior to my view. But that needs to stop! If you give your child respect you will receive respect. I remember one day I didn’t want to do Karate no more because my aunt had told me its not good because its based on the dragon and the dragon is the devil and so that was bad. I was about 9years old and I plucked up the courage to confront my parents not to take me to karate. They didn’t listen to me but because I was persistent I convinced my brother and sister that we all needed to go to our parents to tell them we all wanted to quit. Reluctantly my parents agreed as they saw how persistent we were on this choice and were bitter towards my aunt about her theory. But I am so grateful that they respected the wishes of a 9year old and listened to my concerns and accepted my decision although they had already paid for 10weeks of lessons.  Respect can not be forced it needs to earned. This principle applies to whether you are 1 or 101 years old. Treat your child as a equal, make them feel important and what they say matters because they will give that back to you.

Thirdly, Two Way Communication. This links in with the previous point. Because they are a child it doesn’t mean that you talk and they listen. It’s not your way or the highway.  Communicate that there are boundaries, there are consequences to their actions, also communicate of your love. Keep the communication lines open, help your child know they can come to you and you are never to busy when they need to talk. If you are there for them in the small things they will be able to trust you with the bigger things.

Lastly, We need to see the bigger picture.  These children are on loan to us from our Heavenly Father.  They are His children and our job is to nurture and love them as He would, so they can return back to Him. If we know our role and follow the Holy Spirit we will be guided to know their individual needs. The Spirit is the real teacher and the best teacher.  The Spirit will help us if we are open to it, therefore keep your home a place which will allow the Spirit to be present, without anger, yelling, or force.  So if ever you’re in doubt, think to yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

3.30am :) Feeling liberated… Changing for the better

Have you or somebody you know overcome this cycle? And how did they do it? Share comment below!


DIY Baby Room

imageSince I can remember I have always been excited about being able to deck out the baby’s room than actually having a baby! (is that bad?) I guess I did to many babysitting to put me off wanting my own… but my fate was determined and I was to have my own!!

Upon our arrival at our newly carpeted and painted house the baby room is where I eagerly started on her room but then had to put it on hold… Unfortunately living room and kitchen had to take precedence. Slowly I had been working on little projects for the baby room. Everything was always on a budget so it took a little longer than I wanted it but yippee we are halfway there… Here is the progression of this DIY journey
Project 1. I love you alphabet. I saw it on Pinterest and fell in love with it so initially I looked for a free printable online but I couldn’t find one that i liked so I jumped on to word and whipped up this little baby. printed it off and popped it into this frame I had lying around. easypeasy Cost $0

image

Project 2.seeing these little pompom things are popping up everywhere and I had lots of tissue paper from the baby shower gifts. I saved them all to make these pompom ball things. here’s the tutorial I followed. Cost $0

Project 3. Re-Upholstered Rocking chair! We got a steal with this rocking chair $10 from a yard sale and then I bought fabric to cover it for about $5. I quickly took off the old covers and traced around it on the new fabric. Looking back now I would have bought a different fabric fluff gets stuck to this one rooky mistake! Cost $15

image

Project 4. Painting Baby’s crib. Blessed to get a hand me down from Conners sister so all I did was sand it, paint it and varnished it. all up cost for supplies $20.

 

image

Project 5. Blessing dress in frame. (above) Found these frames on the side of the street they were initially mirrors but we popped them out gave them a coat of paint at the same time we painted the crib and voila! just hung her dress behind it. Cost $0

Project 6. Fabric Toy Box. I had a few extra boxes from the move lying around and I bought a couple of pieces of fabric I thought I was going to use for cushions but ended up making these instead. Simply cut enough fabric to cover around it and used spray glue which made it super easy peasy. Cost $2image

So this is the end result…. Stay tune for the other half of the room….

image

image


Project Jumper

imageSo in our move we had to get rid of lots of things (I didn’t realize I could accumulate so much things in a year!) One thing I noticed we had lots of were hoodies and jumpers. We were going to donate them to the D.I but then the thought came to me to keep them and collect the jumpers for wintertime!!! WHY? There are so many homeless people on the side asking for money or donations especially during the winter. I always feel bad for them for just being in the cold, so what better thing to give them at this time than a warm jumper!

Lately I’ve noticed so many people that have done awesome service projects which have also motivated me to do this service project. I want to make it a tradition to do a service project with my family each year… Eventually the big goal is being able to go and do humanitarian work in a country for a few weeks but that’s further down the line once we are more established. But for this seemed like a manageable project we as a family could do to share the love!

If you have or would like to donate some of your old jumpers we would love to pick them up. Comment below with your info. We are picking up donations in the Weber and Davis county.

As of April we have – 12 jumpers our goal is to get to 100 jumpers by December.

Here I will keep you posted of the progress we are making with PROJECT JUMPER!


Cleftlip Surgery Miracles

IMG_0855.JPG

Just last weekend we finally had baby’s surgery for her cleft lip. You can probably imagine being a first time parent how scary this was for us. She was scheduled to go in on friday morning for a 2 and a 1/2hour surgery. She had to stop eating from 6am and her surgery was at 11am. For us this was the scariest part because as soon as she wakes up she would scream nonstop at the top of her lungs for food (her record is an hour). We were wondering how on earth was she going to make it for that long. So that morning we were all pretty nervous walking on eggshells so she didn’t wake up cranky, then we gave her a bath (which automatically soothed her down) changed her and she was surprisingly calm without any food. We tried giving her some pedialyte drink but she doesn’t take bottles very well so she just spat it all out…still pretty calm my husband gave her a blessing before we drove down to Salt Lake. Bubba doesn’t like being in the car-seat and being in the car and so we were again nervous for the hour long car ride how she would take it.. surprisingly after a little fussing and spitting out the binky a few times she eventually fell asleep the entire car ride. Through out that morning Aroha was the calmest we had ever seen her. Seeing things always seem to be running late she didn’t go into surgery until around 12 she had a little bit of fussing here and there but nothing compared to her normal screaming.

11154805_10152886905853590_8748715057038964283_o

Few hours just before surgery in her wonderwoman onesie.

I attribute it all the fasting and prayers that had been done by our family and friends. I know that because of the faith and love of those around us that morning turned out way more bearable than we had imagined. Even now, baby is recovering so well. She went straight to breastfeeding and eating like her normal self. She’s still chatting away as if nothing had ever changed.

I am so grateful that there is a higher being that we can rely on and give all of our worries and cares to. He knows how to succor us in time of need. Have a awesome day.

The White’s xo

 

 

 

 

 


Easter Traditions

imageIt’s been super weird, this year I haven’t really felt much Easter spirit going on!!! (I know its terrible!) While still trying to settle into our new house, my husband still jam packed with assignments tests and homework it feels like it’s sneaking by without me even knowing. I guess growing up in NZ we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off of work so it’s  generally a 5day weekend but we aren’t  that privileged here in the states. Reflecting back to Easters as a child when we would use to go with our grandma to church both on the Friday and Sunday services. Then when we got older we started going on small vacations up to the bay of islands…LOTS of fun memories with the cousins and extended family.

So taking matters into my own hands I want to make this week just as significant  to Christmas, I would say its just as important or even more important!  Brainstorming ways for my family to reflect and ponder on the real meaning of Easter I have come up with a few things that I would like to do with my family now and in the upcoming Easters…

1. Read or watch the Easter story on Friday night

2. Read the final week of the savior

3. Instead of Easter bunny decorations leave out your nativity decor until Easter time.

4. Sunday morning early sunrise

5. Instead of candy and chocolates giving a toy book or clothing

What are some of you family Easter traditions? What activities do you do as family to bring out the true meaning of Easter?

Bonus Tradition – Doing something different each year to keep it fun and interesting for everybody!


5 tips for having Baby on a Budget

imageAs some of you may know my husband and I are expecting our first baby on our one year anniversary… yeah we crazy but that’s a story for another day…(i won our pumpkin carving contest!) Since we were only newlyweds we had very little money so we had to be as thrifty as possible.

All I remember growing up was people saying how expensive it is to have a baby! And it can be with CRAZY medical bills but setting the medical stuff aside and focusing on the things you do have control of it can be pretty manageable and not as scary as people may play it out to be.546713668590_2116722086_n

Mind you wee have been super blessed to have had family and friends donate a lot of things which has made things a lot easier but just wanted to share a few tips on how we are keeping costs low during this time….

1. Tell people about the baby! everyone has some stuff stored away they don’t need or know people that may have stuff stored away they don’t need. Let people know and they will offer left right and center.

2. Yard sales and thrift stores.  Lots of people tell me ohh you should buy new so it can last all your children.  But when I do the math it doesn’t make sense.  E.g stroller 2nd hand $30 say it doesn’t last me as long I get another second hand one for $30 which totals to $60… verses buying new one that lasts me all my children for $200… $60 is significantly cheaper than $200. I would say buy new when items that have expiration dates or have been in a accident. But if you are lucky to find someone that has only used it for one child that’s a bonus!

3. Stock up a little now. Since finding out about the baby we have money allocated in the budget to buy baby things. Mainly stocking up on things that you can never have too many of.. eg. baby wipes, or diapers (but get various sizes or brands as you don’t know which one you will prefer yet…)

4.  Allocate money aside before the baby is born. By factoring the baby in the monthly budget you won’t be shocked to where your money is going to once the baby comes. You will begin to form habits and wean yourself into adjusting your lifestyle to the new budget. We started off by only setting aside $25 then increased it as time got closer.babystuff

5. Be crafty. I decided I wanted to make something for the baby that was special to them. So with no prior skills and YouTube as my tutor I got my crafty on by making easy quilts, binky clips, matching car seat covers and bibs.. before I knew it I was saving money along the way. (on the right is my latest project) p.s if you are not crafty there are lots of no-sew crafts you can do. Glue gun has become my best friend.

What are some of your ideas on preparing for a baby on a budget? I would love to read your thoughts and ideas:)



Page 5 of 6« First...23456