200th post

This is my 200th post on blogger, and my last. I didn't mean for my 200th to be my last one, it just happened that way.

I've "moved" to wordpress. I like blogger, its treated me well but I wanted to change my blog and my husband has been raving about wordpress (and pestering me to switch over), so it seemed like a good time to do both: move and get a new look.

And even though I (or Jake, as the case may be) imported all of my posts over to wordpress, I feel like I am starting over. Its a nice a feeling, I feel like have permission to change things a little. Not that I couldn't before nor do I have big plans for my new blog, because I don't. But I can't help but feel a little excited as I start anew (and confused, since I don't know my way around wordpress yet).

So visit me here and visit me often. Thanks for reading Tales of a Stay at Home Mom for the last 3 1/2 years!

Christmas Spirit

Recently my inbox as been full of Christmas details, questions, and lists. My phone has been ringing with family members calling for similar reasons. Blogs already are full of Christmas idea posts. Amazon is constantly reminding of their "super saver shipping" deal.

Normally I feel energized by this pre-Thanksgiving gift buying rush. My goal for years has been to not buy a single gift in December. I haven't actually met this goal yet, but I have been pretty close. I love the idea of having my gifts bought (or at least most of them) before December 1st and therefore having plenty of time for Christmas projects with Jonah. The busy December schedule normally doesn't stress me out because I'm not rushing around buying gifts.

So my December 1st deadline is only 9 days away and find myself with only several gift bags full of CVS bargains(does anyone really want those?) and the 2 gifts that I bought for Jonah yesterday. So fine, I'm behind on my gift shopping. I don't really have an excuse, I just am. But the part that is bothering me is that I keep forgetting that I have to buy presents! I think I think that I already have it taken care of, maybe that I have had a plan in place for months. But that just isn't true! And when I realize that I haven't started my shopping I just don't really care that much.

I understand that my heart hasn't quite mended yet from losing our baby and knowing that I am not able to have any more, but apparantly my mind isn't working either.
My sister-in-law said I that I am normal now (though I KNOW she is almost done with her shopping she just isn't admitting it to make me feel better) and my husband said "welcome to the rest of the world." I'm not sure how I feel about those statements. A small part of me screams "NO!". I want to be my old over-planning self, I want her back, I want to care about little details again, I want to care about them so far in advance that my I drive my husband crazy.

My friend Sarah said that I could be like that again if I wanted to. If I really wanted to get something done in my old self ways, then I would.

Maybe that is it. Maybe I just care less about things that don't really matter because I found out this year what matters. Life. Death. Friends. Family.

Now that I have that figured out I'm going to go slap some gift tags on the 15 tubes of toothpaste I have stockpiled and call it good (right after I place a big Amazon order).

Hip Hip for a New Coupon Organizer

It was time to make the move from an 8 year old dollar store cardboard organizer to a homemade "I'm serious about couponing" coupon organizer. Here is both my old one and my new and improved coupon binder:



I used 2 packages of baseball card holders and cut them done from 3 x 3 to 3 x 2. I then punched new holes and a put them in a small binder. Since my goal is to save money I tried to make my saving money tool as cheaply as possible. I already had this small binder, from college, along with some paper already cut and hole punched to fit it. I used the paper to form dividers between each section. My mom had one package of baseball card holders that she gave me (but she didn't give me the sports cards that were in it, so don't worry dear brothers)and I bought another package at Office Depot from $2.66. Since then I discovered that they have pacakges of 10 at my Dollar Tree for $1 (because its the dollar store!). The ones my mom had are the best quality but I couldn't seem to find any that sturdy. The ones from Office Depot and the dollar store are a little flimsy and I worry about the new holes I punched. My friends and I thought a little scotch tape or those little sticky circle reinforcers might help.

I love it! The binder has pockets for a calculator, pen and really big coupons. I also used single photo album pockets, hole punched them, and labeled one for each store I go to. I then put all of the coupons that I need for my next shopping trips to Walgreens, CVS, Kroger and Wal-mart in their own marked section.

The bad thing about my binder is this:



It sticks out quite a bit when I close it. I could cut it down to a 2 x 2 but I hate too. I'm afraid it would make the binder way too thick and therefore hard to turn the pages, stay closed, ect. It also is just a little big for a purse, even the new jumbo purse I upgraded to. But that was my big specification- it had to fit into a purse.

This binder is now worth more than my wallet! It has loaded giftcards in it to CVS and WAGS plus $18 in ECBs. You can cancel credit cards, but what do you do if someone still your drugstore "money"??? (Cry!)

I should have been an Environmental Science Major

I have been working on this plan. A plan for my life for the time being. A plan that involves filing for adoption, volunteering at Jonah's school, and saving up for said adoption.

Unfortunately, to save up that means I probably need to do more than coupon. I really should get a job. But I don't want to. Instead I've decided that I'm going to try to substitute teach and maybe look for something in the school system. Maybe.

But then yesterday I subbed my first day in the district (I have subbed a couple of days at the Christian School).

The real question is if I never sub again do I have to get a real job? But honestly, Kroger is looking real good after my experience in this third grade classroom.

It reminded me a lot of when I was in High School and a few fellow classmates and I were talking to a sub. He was an Environmental Science major without a job, so he was subbing. And he was clueless. This is when I first realized that you didn't have to have a teaching degree to sub.

I feel like the third grade teacher was probably in her classroom for 5 minutes this morning and thought "that sub definitely doesn't have any teaching experience". Its not like they were bad or mean or even really disrespectful. They just couldn't stop talking. They just couldn't. It made me so sad because I was suppose to teach multiplication. I had a lot of math hours in college, it was my emphasis. But I was too busy telling everyone to stop talking and threatening nasty notes to their teacher to get too far.

The good thing for me, but maybe not really, is that I'm only signed up to sub at Jonah's school and they have 3 retired teachers who sub there often. They are the first to be called. I WAS trying to figure out how I can sub at other schools and still manage to avoid any type of before or after school care for Jonah. Right now I'm feeling unmotivated to pursue a plan such as that. Maybe I should instead explore getting another degree (maybe in the earth sciences). Or maybe I just give subbing another try (but I do I have to?).

Five Year Old's Views on Politics

At Jonah's school on Tuesday the whole student body voted. They learned that they didn't have to tell anyone who they voted for, that they there were choices, and that there would be both a winner and a loser.

Jonah announced that he voted for Barak Obama.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because he was first on the paper."

His Kindergarten teacher then shared with me that she asked the class the following day what they had heard about the election. Most of them heard who had won.

"What do you know about Obama?"- Teacher

"I know a LOT."- a girl in Jonah's class

"What do you know?- teacher

"I heard he's a good dancer." - same girl


"I'm sad that Sarah Palin didn't win."- fellow kindergartener

"Hey, I think Sarah Palin rides my bus."- kindergarten bus rider

Couponing for the Good

So I have quite the stash now of personal type items: 20 something bottles of shampoo, a dozen tubes of toothpaste, a stack of soap. It was time to make a donation!

I chose to make my first donation to Operation Santa, a Central Illinois group whose goal this year is to send 30,000 filled stockings to troops serving over seas. They are collecting trial size toiletries, gum, Crystal Light, and DVD's.

If you are like me and you have a stash of free stuff from many recent Walgreens and CVS runs, here's what works: single pack toothbrushes (I gave them ALL, but don't worry, we still have 3 double packs in the drawer in case there is a teeth brushing emergency), Biz Fizz and other energy shots, Soy Joy bars(and other power bars) and regular packs of razors (I think they open them). You can even get free (or almost free or make-a-little-money-on) razors at CVS this week by doing this deal, from Money Saving Mom:

Buy 1 Bic Comfort3 Advanced Shavers (4-pk) at $4.99, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 4)
Use $2/1 coupon from 9/14 or 10/12 Smart Source insert
Free plus $1 overage after coupon and ECBs
(I only had 3 coupons but still bought my limit of 4, so made I $2 and got 16 razors to donate!).

If you do live in Central Illinois the above link has drop off locations, the full list of items to donate, and even the pattern if you are willing to make stockings (but do it FAST, they are due soon).

If you don't live in Central Illinois (or you do but want to give to someplace else), don't forget that the deadline for Operation Christmas Child is coming up, most drop-off locations want boxes by November 17 because they must get them to the packing centers the week of November 17-24. Acceptable stash items: toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap (don't forget to put it in a baggie), and school supplies. We have been saving our duplicate unopened Happy Meal toys for our box too. And I plan on having Jonah pull out some candy from his Trick-or-Treating loot that will not melt on its trip over seas.

One other idea of where to donate items to is your local crisis pregnancy center. I've heard of lots of people donating to theirs and so I asked at ours, they take any kind of female, child, or baby type personal item, even make-up (I know I have quite the pile of mascara and foundation right now).

So go and do some good with your deals instead of letting them take over every closet and under the sink area like it has at my house!

Just Like That

On Sunday I was briefly explaining to a lady(and it wouldn't be brief to try and explain WHY I was explaining this to her) why I ended my infertility treatments. Her response was, "just like that? You're giving that up?"

Just like that??? Giving up??? I think my mouth hung open just a little longer than was necessary but, what? I'm sorry, but after 4 years of drugs, surgeries, heartache, procedures, and the loss of 2 babies, I don't think there is anything "just" about it.

Wednesday I had traveled one last time to the Infertility Clinic and met with the specialist. He was disappointed that my recent IVF cycle was canceled and was not encouraged by it.

"Are all of my eggs bad?" I had to ask. "Yeah" he replied.

Now, that is something to hurl a women like me back into the debts of despair! What a feeling a hopeless that overwhelmed me when he regrettably told me that my child bearing days are most likely over. Honestly, it has felt like losing the baby all over again.

He did suggest that we try donor eggs. I feel like I must say donor eggs slowly, in a hushed tone, and with one hand cupped to the side of my mouth: do-n-o-r eggs (shhh). But we already decided that we are knocking off the hoopla after this last attempt and are therefore done.

My poor, poor specialist. He hung his head and proclaimed that he had failed at his job.

Its makes me want to try do-n-o-r eggs, one time, just for him.

He did perk up, however, when I asked about birth control. Birth control is an old fashioned way of dealing with hormonal issues and the fact that I was on it after we got married is likely what allowed me to conceive so easily with Jonah. You simply use it for a few months, pray for a high enough hormonal boost and then go off it for a month and try. It is not something that you put a lot of hope into, but it is inexpensive and non-evasive (and worth a try).

I also have been talking to my cousin about an unconventional, all natural diagnostic and treatment method. I'm waiting for some more information from her. But the facilitator for this method is on the other side of the world and my husband is not quite convinced that this is "for real". Again, worth a try but not something I'm putting a lot of hope into.

Do I have any hope right now? I'm not sure, but its really hard to close this door. Its difficult to call it quits after 4 years of trying and never reaching our goal. I'm excited about the prospect of adoption but am having trouble switching gears. Procrastination is not something I normally practice, so why can't I fill out the paper work?

I think once it settles in that this is where my hope needs to be, then I will be my normal, task oriented self and "git 'er done" as my husband says in true Arkansas fashion. Until then, I'm going to be thankful that I snagged some leftover premium dark chocolate from Trunk-or-treating last night to help get me through...

My little coupon clipper



Jonah went with me to work some "sweet deals" at CVS on Sunday. He was so excited to get to pick out everything. He even clipped some of the coupons. Coupons are actually encouraging him to try harder at cutting. His fine motor skills are improving because of couponing. So you can stop making fun of me, I do this for my son's education!

Now that I'm done telling lies (but really, it is helping him cut), check out everything we got for free. Jonah even picked up a coloring sheet for a Halloween Coloring Contest (and he is even trying to color inside the lines, really, CVS is teaching him more than school...).

Sadly, the Halloween stuff is no longer free, but there is still mouthwash and toothpaste to be had (unless you go to the 2 in my town, my friends and I already cleaned them out, but maybe they restocked...). And free Sobe water too, don't forget that!

Go here to check out the rest of the deals at CVS this week. Bring your kid, its educational (sorry, couldn't help it)!

Kindergarten Ultimatum

I will admit that I've been a little self-centered lately and have failed to update on the wonderful world of kindergarten.

Jonah loves it. Loves it. He looks forward to going everyday, insists on wearing his school t-shirt on spirit days, and usually has many stories to tell.

He likes lunch and math. He is doing great at the whole language reading program that the school uses. He doesn't even complain about nap time too much. He looks forward to gym class days.

He doesn't, however, like holding a pencil and really isn't very interested in learning to write all of the letters correctly. But he is trying and is slowly becoming a little more excited about it. His fine motor skills have improved a lot since school has started.

I was feeling pretty good about his progress until we got a letter about the newest ultimatum in his class: adults are not going to help tie shoes after Halloween. Jonah said that was just for at school. I assured him that his teacher meant at home too (let her be the bad guy, right?). I knew he wouldn't learn if I tied them for him at home.

Now he is both looking forward to and dreading Halloween. We've been making bunny ears every morning with little progress. Any ideas, besides velcro, of course?

Chickened Out


Here is a picture of my new haircut!


Here is a picture of the parking ticket that I got while I was getting my haircut, my first ticket of any kind, ever.

Since I am a chicken, I did not go blond. And since I went to the beauty college where I always go and it took 3 hours, I got a parking ticket.

I did however tell both my beautician in training and her teacher that my husband dared me to do something dramatic. I told them that I must win. I was hoping for a short sassy cut. Instead I got a pretty plain cut and some Halloween style red streaks:



Jake took one look at the red(from across the room), and said "you win". Yea.

Although my new do is cracking me up it did earn my hairdresser trainee some points, her teacher was disappointed that they did not take a before picture. I wonder what I looked like before! And, they are going to use the 7 inches that they first hacked off (and I do mean hack) to use for color swatches.

I'm not loving it but it is fun and even WITH the parking ticket- the whole shampoo, cut, color and style only cost $25 (but did I say it took 3 hours?)!

317 area code

All day today I was dreading a call with a 317 area code. I knew it would be bad news. I knew it would be the lab telling me there was nothing to transfer. Unfortunately that call came about an hour ago. My one little egg refused to divide and conquer like it was suppose to.

My main feeling right now is annoyance. I had everything taken care of- picked up medicine, bought easy foods for the next few days, had a place to stay tonight in Indy and my mother-in-law is on her way to help. I think that my annoyance will soon change into something else- anger, sadness, and my personal favorite (not really) the feeling of "this is not fair."

In the mean time, I want to do things that aren't really good for me like drink lots of caffeine and something really "out there". Maybe its finally time to "go blond!"

Cheap Eggs

On Friday I was cruising down the frozen foods aisle at Kroger when over the load speaker came an announcement "One dozen Extra Large Eggs for 29 cents". I, of course, turned around and picked up 2 dozen (even though their sell by day was up, I had almost a full carton at home, and I'm the only one who eats eggs). I did not buy 10 dozen like this old guy suggested. He in fact DID buy 10 dozen and was going to take them home, hard boil them, and give them to EVERYBODY.

I was telling Jake that evening about the extra large eggs and he got confused and thought I was talking about MY eggs. That was an understandable mistake since we were preparing for invitro.

Oh how I wish I had a dozen eggs. Its a little awkward to write about my eggs as opposed to the eggs that I got a "sweet deal" on at Kroger. It reminds of sitting around at small group almost a year and discussing what makes a good blog. Someone mentioned that angst, trials and mishaps are much more interesting than cute kid stories. I teased and said "oh I should post about how I just got my eggs harvested". The guys looked uncomfortable and said they would read that post, they just wouldn't comment on it.

So here I am, posting how I did in fact get my eggs "harvested" (I prefer to say retrieved) yesterday. Sadly, they did not get a dozen, they weren't extra large, and there were only three of them.

After the retrieval there are a few more steps before implantation can actually occur. First, the eggs have to be fertilized. I knew something was wrong when I didn't get a call early this morning from the lab telling me how many were fertilized. Instead the call came around 8:30 that only one of the eggs were showing sign of fertilization. There is a chance that the other two will show signs later this afternoon, but it is unlikely.

The next step is that this little fertilized egg needs to duplicate its cells a few times and become an embryo. If that happens, I will return in a day or two for the last step in this long process, implantation. I should receive a call later this afternoon with more details.

I was feeling discouraged this morning when the call didn't come and it assured me that even though I'm scared to be pregnant again, I do want the chance. But, I've been reminding myself, if we don't get that chance then we are finally prepared to move on to Plan B (adoption!).

There, another angsty, trial filled blog post that according to the guys in my small group should get me lots of readers but not a lot of comments!

Disappointment

Sometimes you daydream about parts of your life that you would like to improve. You might dream about a mate, a bigger house, an expensive vacation, or a better job.

I, of course, daydream about getting a baby. In my daydream I either find out that I'm already five months pregnant or someone, out of the blue of course, just offers to give us a baby.

The crazy thing is that the later almost happened (sort of). Two babies actually.

We had met on Monday with adoption agency #3. We had took a recommendation from a friend (we appreciate ALL of the recommendations that we have gotten) that this was a good program and went to hear more about it and get to know the social worker.

After outlining the program, answering our questions and talking about fees she asked us if our friend mentioned any specific children that were up for adoption. We said that yes, she had said that there were twins that needed adoptive parents.

The next (which is the same as the last) 24 hours were dreamlike. The social worker said that although we didn’t have any paper work in or a completed home study that if we got a portfolio together by the morning, she would show it to the birthmother. And she only had one other portfolio left to show her, which she felt it was likely that the birthmom would choose us over the other couple.

We just couldn’t make a decision last night. Not in one night. It was just too big. We decided to sleep on it and see what happened- maybe she wouldn’t pick the other couple and we would have time to put something together and think a little longer.

We were bought some time, so we thought. The birthmother ended up going to the hospital and although she was fine, she missed the meeting with the social worker. The social worker said that she would not meet again with her until Monday which left us to think we had until then to put a portfolio together (and decide if this is what we really wanted to do).

After making a few calls today to the social worker and insurance we had decided that we should at least “turn our names in” by putting together a portfolio with pictures and a letter about us. My girls in my small group helped me get a plan together tonight.

But we returned home from small group to find an e-mail from the social worker stating that the birthmother picked a couple from a portfolio that she had seen last week, a couple that she had said that she wasn’t going to pick.

We’re feeling a little disappointed right now, maybe a little relief, and are trying to get a little more excited about doing invitro again (which we would have pulled out of if the birthmom had picked us). I guess we’re back to where we started 24 hours ago, it was so crazy that its hard for me to believe that it actually happened, or COULD have happened.

Walgreens TakeCare Health Tour

Since my husband has hereditary high cholesterol we try to get his tested every year. Due to a crazy year and the fact he hasn't liked our new family physician, he unfortunately is both behind on getting his checked and has run out of his medicine.

When I saw that the Walgreens TakeCare Health Tour was coming to the Walgreens just down the street I thought that was a great opportunity for him to get his cholesterol checked (and to put off finding him a new doctor a little longer).

First of all, the people running the red bus were very nice, they called us "the cute family" but I'm sure it was because they hadn't seen anyone under 50 all month. Second of all, they tested all of the following, free of charge:

* Total Cholesterol Levels
* Blood Pressure
* Bone Density
* Glucose Levels
* Waist Circumference
* Body Mass Index

You do not need to fast for these tests, but your results will be more accurate for the blood glucose level if you don't eat for two hour prior to the test.

And if you need a third reason to visit the TakeCare Tour, just check out what's in the goodie bag that you get when you are finished:

A serving size sample of Honey Nut Cheerios
a 1/2 cup serving of Fiber One cereal
2 samples of Carefree Liners
single doses of:
-Pepcid Complete
-Tylenol Extra Strength
-Tylenol Arthritis Pain

Coupons for:
$1 off Pepcid Complete
$1 off any St. Joseph product
$1 off any Tylenol Extra Strength
$1 off any Benadryl Product
$1 off any Carefree Product
.75 cents off Fiber One
$1 off Honey Nut Cheerios
$10 off any Nicorette Gum

To see if a tour is coming near you, check out Walgreens.com.

Cruise Control, Sonic, and IVF

I was driving home one day last week from my physiological analysis thinking about cruise control and Sonic (as in the drive-in restaurant).

Before you conclude that I'm crazy remember that I had just saw a certified psychologist who deemed me normal!

Cruise control was on my mind because I was driving down the interstate in the van, which we seldom drive outside the city limits due to gas prices, and I realized that the cruise control was no longer working. I suppose its probably been 6 months since its been out of town. And as long as I'm stating facts I will say that I was planning to take our efficient mid size car but my husband forgot and took it to work (and yes, it was packed with "big" baby toys for my niece and nephew).

Now I was thinking about Sonic, because I usually do when we want a treat or a fun drink and I just happened to be in a town that actually has one. And I figured since I had to deal with no cruise control on the way home I might as well deal with it while drinking a cherry vanilla Sprite.

At my appointment we talked a little about my previous pregnancies. Jonah's was easy, I expected it to go well. But this last one was not easy, it was scary and ended in one of the worst ways that it could. And now we're really close to trying again and I'm not sure how it will end.

As I was sipping on my Sprite, trying not to go 80 MPH, I realized that I don't want another try to be like getting in my van and saying "cruise isn't going to work, why am I even driving this thing?". Now, I know that is a fact, there is the possibility that IVF won't work or that it will and my water will break too early again. I know that, we even have a back-up plan in case either of those things happen. But wouldn't it be better to think that I'm going to Sonic and I'm going to get my drink. There is a chance that it could be closed or have ran out of cherries.

But its worth the drive anyway, right?

Right! At this appointment we were suppose to see if emotional I was ready to handle another pregnancy, and I'm happy that a professional thought that I was in fact ready. She praised my openness to share and that we had pursued counseling. She said that my anxieties were normal and that if they ever reached an abnormal stage we could discuss some meds.

IVF is one of those things you can't set an exact date for, it depends on how cooperative my body chooses to be. But likely, if all goes as planned, we will be getting in the van and headed towards "Sonic" (so much less awkward than infertility clinic) somewhere around mid October.

The clinic has details here about the IVF process if you are interested.

Tag

My friend Shelly "tagged" me this week.

Here are the first rules of being tagged:

"Each blogger must post these rules. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves. Bloggers that are tagged need to write on their own blog about their ten things and post these rules."

Here are my ten facts, many of you might already know most of these!

1. I love watching Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons. I used to dream about being Laura Ingalls.

2. I was such a skinny kid that on a canoeing trip in Junior High Youth Group my leader had to put a cement block in my end of the canoe so it would stay down in the water.

3. I'm not a very picky eater but I strongly dislike cottage cheese (unless its in something like lasagna) and horseradish.

4. When I was nine my doctor discovered that I had a heart murmur caused by the strep virus. For a few months I had to take an aggressive round of meds where I learned how to swallow pills without water. I was required to take some during the school day and I couldn't quite figure out how to make the water fountain help me.

5. Currently, my stomach looks like a pin cushion from the new hormones that I'm injecting (more about that later).

6. In the fifth grade I won a creative writing contest for writing a limerick about my bed, in its darling cover of red (which by the way, was NOT red).

7. I was the person in typing class (back when it was on electric typewriters) whose teacher would come around and tape the piece of paper over my hands and keyboard. To this day, I still look at my fingers sometimes!

8. I've always wished for whiter teeth and a singing voice. So far, I haven't gotten either.

9. I failed my first drivers test because as I was completing the test and pulling back into the parking lot, I hit a parked car! I did pass the next day and the only cars I've hit since then have been in my own driveway (so beware if you park there).

10. I have never been on an organized sports team, and regret that, but only a little.

The last rule says this: "At the end of your blog, you need to choose ten people to get tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged and to read your blog."

I'm going to break that rule and not name names but instead say, if you like blog prompts and want to this, please do, just comment here so we can check out your answers. If you don't have a blog, this is a good time to create one (you know you've been thinking about it anyway) or you can just post your list in the comment section.

I will say that it was fun to think of the past and all the little "things" that make up me!

Hi Ike

Sadly, we got to meet Hurricane Ike up close and personal last Sunday when we came home to a soaked lower level in our bi-level home. We know, however, we are very fortunate not to live in other areas of the country where families lost much more than carpet!

Our first sign that the all day downpour had gotten into our house was the wet throw rug in our downstairs hallway. We were surprised that it was wet since our garage was dry. A quick check told us that the perimeter of our all-purpose-family-office-play room was soaked. The slip cover on our couch had lapped up water as well.

Our under-the-stairs storage closet seemed to have gotten the most water. The bottoms of boxes fell out when we moved them.

We are still waiting on someone to come and access the damage, that will hopefully take place in the morning.

In the meantime everything has been moved in our garage:



And removed the carpet (it was starting to smell):



I didn't take a picture of my newly purchased and organized plastic bins I bought for storage. Hopefully that will make things easier if this happens again, but I hope that it doesn't- what a mess!

More Gathering

We have been slowing exploring the adoption process and although we are still very confused about some issues and haven't chosen an agency yet, I feel like we are getting closer.

We have met with two very different social workers from two very different agencies. We first met with Bethany Christian Services who is a very large, well know agency. Our second meeting was with a social worker from an agency that Jake calls the "in-bred" agency. They are, of course, not in-bred, but everyone who works there is related in some way (they actually gave us a whole page explaining their relationships to each other). The are very small and local.

I left our first meeting thinking we should go with Bethany. But then I left our second meeting thinking we should go with them. I'm like the toddler who will always "picks" the last choice mentioned.

Pros, as we see them, for Bethany:
-experienced
-Christian staff
-place a large number of children per year
-many programs offered (they work with many countries as well as domestic)

And the cons:
-they are big, they have prices and procedures that are set up- you have to make choices now about BIG things
-none of the above prices and procedures and choices have really been explained to us
-our social worker was nice, but quiet and I felt like we had to pull info out of her

Pros, for the small, local "family" owned agency
-I don't feel like we would be a "number", personalized service
-They answered all of our questions and went through every page with us!
-The number of waiting families is small
-We aren't rushed to make important decisions
-I really liked our friendly, open social worker who was very informative

Cons:
-They placed a small number of children last year
-They are not doing a lot of international placements right now
-less experience than the larger agency
-the staff are not Christians


We are still trying to understand:
Lawyer adopt vs. agency adoption
the adoption tax law
what exactly Hague is and how it is affecting international adoption

And now Jake says he wants to meet with a THIRD agency. I'm sure that I'll want to go with them...

PTA Power

In my mind I envisioned a PTA meeting being something like a school board or town meeting from some 80's movie like Teen Wolf or Doc Hollywood (or any other movie with Micheal J. Fox in it that I can't remember if there really was a scene like this or not). I expected opinionated parents slinging their ideas to strong willed-unmoved-middle aged board members.

Most of my ideas went out the window when I stepped into my first Parent Teacher Association Meeting last week. The 7 present members didn't say a word to me as I came in and sat down. The meeting began with a dull run down of the last meeting's minutes. I was sure I would be bored to pieces and asked to do lots of random jobs as the "new blood".

Two more ladies came in and sat down by their friends who had saved them seats. I quickly recognized these ladies as the ones I had pegged as "running the school" and was not surprised that they were in change of all of the committees. Assignments were being made for this year's committees. At least I thought assignments were being made but instead they were just reviewing last year's assignments. Each time the president would bring up a new committee she would say, "you guys going to need some help with that this year?" as she eyed me and the one other newbie. Each time they would say something along the lines of how they had it under control. My favorite was the events or programs that obviously didn't go well last year, but they still didn't want any help. Even the Box Top Grandma didn't need any assistance. An angry 80's mob would have been more enjoyable than this! I left without signing up for anything.

Somehow I got the nerve to ask the Refreshment Queen if she needed any help with the Kindergarten Grandparent Day when I saw her at pick-up last week. I really wanted to spy on my kiddo and his grandparents and this was my only "in". First she said no, then that she didn't know, then she changed it to "sure, why don't you come." Maybe she say the pleading in my eyes, the need to be included in the PTA club, I'm not sure what did it but I said "see you then" and quickly climbed back in my van before she could change her mind.

Well, one of "them" actually talked to me while we were serving cookies and orange kool-aid yesterday. And she even asked me to help with something else and although I'm pretty sure I was her last hope, I'll take it!

Walgreens Tuturial

I'm posting a link to Walgreens 101 that explains both the rebate program and the deal on Register Rewards. Tonya requested it but even if you feel like you are experienced at WAGS like I feel like I am, you might learn something from Money Saving Mom's post, I know I did.

One of my big complaints about Walgreens has been the way they tax, which seems to be on your pre-coupon amount. In the link she explains how hopefully to avoid that by giving the cashier your coupons in a particular order. Its worth a try!

The important things to remember about Register Rewards are:
1. you cannot use a RR from the cough medicine deal to do another cough medicine deal, the computer will NOT print out RR for you. But you can (like I did today) use your cough med RR to do a cleaners(Windex, pledge, scrubbing bubbles) deal. I will use my cleaner RR to do another cough med deal before the week is over.
2. A Register Reward counts as a coupon. You cannot have more manufacturers coupons than you have items. So if you have 7 items and you have a coupon for each one of them PLUS you are paying with a RR, one of the coupons will not take. You must buy one more item. It works well if you have a coupon that is, for example, $1 off of 2 items. That will count as one coupon but you now have an extra items to be "paired" with your RR.

I hope that helps, Tonya, now go make some money at Walgreens!!!!

Underground Protection

I honestly thought that you had to be a cherry tomato to survive my garden this year. My regular tomatoes either didn't turn, was ate by a bunny or split before I had a chance to pick them. The bunnies also ate every leaf off of both the pepper and the bean plants (we got 2 hot peppers and one green bean). My radishes went to seed and the squash bugs got the zuchinni after a couple short weeks of happy zuchinni harvest. The watermelon are still smaller than an orange and don't appear to be getting any bigger. And my cucumbers, they are just plain funny looking. They are small and round instead of long and skinny. Apparently they want to be a cherry tomato.

As I was out picking 50 or so cherry tomatoes I decided to pull the carrots. The tops were long but close together. I saw no orange veggie at the base and figured they, like their neighbor the radish, either didn't like the soil or didn't get thinned enough and therefore decided not to produce edible fruit this year. I was surprised to pull up carrot after carrot! Some were small but they are good! And they kept hidden from the bunnies all summer long. Good job, carrots!

Money Making Cough Medicine

I saw this deal on Money Making Mom, went to Walgreens and did it, and just have to share!

We all, unfortunately will probably have to buy some sort of cough medicine this winter for either ourselves or our kiddos, so this is a great deal. And if you're in an area like mine, there is a Walgreens on most corners!

PREP (most of the time saving money involves a little bit of planning):
Print coupons for $3 off of 1 of Robitussin and/or $2 off of 1 of Dimetapp.
You need 3 coupons total, any combo will do. Actually, if you can only get one coupon to print, you will still get a good deal! You should be able to print one coupon per computer per e-mail address, but don't hold me to that. Sometimes coupon printers do unexplainable, terribly frustrating things...

Cut out your large coupons and head to your nearest Walgreens.

If you got the paper last Sunday (with the Proctor and Gamble coupon insert) cut out the 75 cent off coupon for Crest Pro-Health Mouthwash, bring it with you.

At Walgreens: Buy 3 Robitussin or Dimetapp 4 oz products for 3.99 each (mix or match, depending on the coupons that you printed out)(there were tags at my WAGS explaining which ones were included in the deal).

If you want, pick up a bottle of mouthwash.

DEAL:
Cough Meds: 3.99 x 3= 11.97
- 3 3/1 coupons= 9 (or whatever combo you have)
-------------
2.97 OOP (Out of pocket)

Get back a $1o Register Reward.

$7 in Free Money at Walgreens! You can blow your free $ on anything you like or use it to generate even more free money buy doing some of the September Rebate Easy Saver Deals.

If you wanted to sweeten your Walgreens deals (because you're on a roll) buy the mothwash too.

This is what I did:
2 Robitussin @3.99
1 Dimetapp @3.99
1 Pro Health Mouth Wash @ 4.49
- 2 3/1 Robitussin
- 1 2/1 Dimetapp
- .75 Pro Health
------------
7.51 OOP
Got back 10 RR and 4.49 RR for a profit of $6.98!

(Register Rewards are WAGS coupons that can by used in-store and expire in 2 weeks).

Now I think I'm going to break open one of the bottles because my allergies are driving my crazy!

Is it safe?


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain


I just found the above quote from Mark Twain as I was thinking about recent conversations that I have had from concerned friends and family members. As we consider "what's next" in regards to having another child we get many mixed responses from people. Most are just worried about us and ask the question, "Is it safe to try again?" or "wouldn't adoption just be easier with a guaranteed better outcome?"

Well, sure its safe to try again, my health is not at risk and my body has healed fine. Could things end up just as they did this spring? Sure (maybe that is what they mean by safe). And I've never heard of adoption being easy or without heartaches of its own.

I guess I tend to agree with Twain, that I will have regrets 10 years from now if I don't try now.

But I am scared, really scared.

I'm usually not on a quote kick, but I searched for a few more under "risk". I can relate to this:

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.- Anias Nin

And here is one that I imagine another pregnancy will feel like:

It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear . . . . It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.- Marilyn Ferguson


One more:

Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is.- H. Jackson Browne

So I think that the real question is, maybe even bigger than all of the information that I've been collecting, is- is it worth the risk, even if it isn't safe?

Gathering Information Part 3

I'm in the middle of processing lots of new information right now that I have obtained via meeting with different professionals. Do we have a decision? No way. Are we close? Maybe. Here is my original list and some of the information I have "gathered":

1. get a 2nd opinion about whether I have an incompetent cervix or not (and in the process find a new OB because I'm not going back to my current one)- Yesterday I met with an OB who sees high risk patients, preformed many cervical cerclages, and is currently doing some work in infertility. She said that my situation is not classic for an incompetent cervix but the x-ray suggests that I do have one. She was missing a sono that would help her further diagnose and we are hoping that she will get a hold of that in the next couple of days. The clinic will help me find an OB here in town when that time comes, for now they will take care of me, even if it means driving an hour away.

2. find out actually what an incompetent cervix is and what it would mean for a future pregnancy (this really concerns me- IF I get pregnant again, will I be confined to breathing, eating and sleeping for 8 months???)- So I still don't know exactly what one is, but this is how it was explained to me: the cervix is too weak and begins to open too soon, causing a rupture of membranes. As far as we know, mine did not open. Again, she says that my case is not classic and therefore is why I "fell through the cracks", all seemed to be fine. A pregnancy would consist of having the cerclage following by limited activity (but fairly normal lifestyle). They would carefully monitor to see if anything is happening through ultrasound. Bedrest can be expected around 20 weeks. A perinatalist would be consulted and make those calls.

3. Weigh our options about how aggressive we want to be with getting pregnant again such as if we want to use meds or do IVF again- Seeing that nothing else worked, we will skip everything and go right to IVF, if we chose to do something. Meds and other procedures can be even more draining than IVF because they can drag on for months while they try to get everything right. And, again, they didn't work before. If we are going to invest time, money and emotions into something it will probably be in what we know worked. Of course, there is always the chance that it won't work this time around.

4. Research different adoptions options. Begin to make a decision on whether we want to proceed with adoption even if we decide to "try again." - This would probably be the step where we have "gathered" the least. We have met with one social worker and were going to attend an info meeting tonight but instead will be going to Jonah's open house (just found out about THAT).

Summary and Conclusions: I lied about the conclusion part, I'm still missing that part. But to summarize: its likely that I have an incompetent cervix, professionals agree that my chances of carrying a baby to term after the cerclage are somewhere between 8 and 9 out of 10. Those are not fabulous odds, but good enough for us to consider it. Adoption is still an option but we are in need of more information. Next week we hope to talk to the nurse prac after she consults with the OB about the sono (the missing info) and to talk to with 2 other local adoption agencies.

Print ME

I have tried to tone down my new coupon-clipping-deal-making addiction, but I can't stand it anymore! I have to share some of my favorite coupon getting avenues. If you are like my husband and just want to glaze over, nod your head, and click "mark all as read" on your Goggle Reader-go for it, my feelings will not be hurt (but your wallet might be!!!).

The newspaper: I finally got the Chicago Tribune delivered to my door! I took a few phone calls, and I'm still not sure who I pay, but I got it! Apparently, the delivery service, not the Trib's circulation department, now collects in my area (but the Trib didn't know that). Lots and lots of great coupons delivered right to my door for only $1 a week (includes Wed-Fri papers as well). To give this deal a try go here.

ALL YOU magazine: I was NOT looking forward to Jonah's first fundraiser but am looking forward to receiving a great deal on ALL YOU magazine. ALL YOU contains lots of interesting and useful articles plus many coupons, most are $1 off. The fundraiser has 24 issues for $20 making it less than half the price as newsstand (1.77-1.97) AND don't forget the free gym bag! Bonus!

Printables: Coupons.com has some great new coupons that they just put up.
Just click on the coupons that you would like to print and then select "print clipped now". I suggest the $1 off coupons for Pillsbury Crescent rolls and Cinnamon rolls and the 50 cents off Betty Crocker Cookie Mix. If you watch the sales or have a store that doubles coupons you might be able to get these items for free or close to free!

Recycling Day Walk: For three weeks now I've been going for a friendly walk around the neighborhood where I just so happen to peak into the recycling bins parked at the curb. Oh the coupons I have scored...

THE Driver's Test

I've heard that most women, by the time they are 30, either have learned to parallel park or have learned to avoid it. I have gone with the second option and have been pretty successful, until this week.

Jonah's school doesn't really have a drive-by and drop-off line, but instead a parking line. There is actually 2 parking lines, one on each side of the street leaving little room to maneuver between them.

I think along with back-to-school shopping and dentist and doctor's appointments we should have to make a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles when we first send a kiddo off to school. A special course should be given to show us mom's of kindergartners how to safely parallel park while trying to:

stay out of the way of the other mommy's who are trying to do the same (and half of them have had my "avoid" it policy)

help our kid find their name tag and adhere to to their shirt so that it is not covering up any part of Superman

not fall into a steep ditch or block someones driveway

not hit the 5th grade crossing guards who are conversing in the middle of the road

Maybe I should break out my copy of the Rules of the Road before pick-up time.

No girls allowed

Jonah's first day of kindergarten was a "boys only" day. The day before all of the girls went so that just half of the class was being acclimated at a time.

When asked if he was excited about returning today he said, "Not really."

When I asked why, he of course replied something along the lines of "there will be girls there."

A matter of Opinion: Gathering Information Part 2

My desire was to take the next 2-4 weeks to obtain some pretty serious information in order to help us make a decision about trying to have another child. I wasn't looking forward to this because I expected lots of frustration through many hours of Internet research and phone conversations. I expected to not get anywhere, fast, at least.

I thought that today would be Day One in the process. Jonah is in school and its a new week. But in the middle of trying to send him off last week and do all of the last minute things involved with the start of school, a variety of information was thrown my way. It was in no way gathered, but instead hurled my direction.

I mentioned expecting frustration, and I've already experienced my limit. In an attempt to "gather" I sought a 2nd opinion about the cause of my water breaking and advice about the next step. I thought making an appointment with a local doctor, who has lost 2 babies the way I did, would be a good fit for me. But, she wouldn't see me. She doesn't do a lot of high risk and she definitely doesn't do infertility. She would be happy to be a homebase doctor for me if I do get pregnant again but she would expect that I would need to see a high-risk doctor as well. I guess even without an appointment, I got her opinion: I need specialists.

After that door closed I soon found myself in the middle of an insurance mess. Apparently I filled out a form incorrectly and if I had done it right the problem could have been corrected by now. But until then, I'm not allowed to see the specialist or receive treatment of any kind in this state (his main office is out of state). The right paperwork has now been filed and now we just have to wait.

I was ready to give up on Thursday when all of this occurred but thankfully, something good did come out of it. One of the nurse pracs called on Saturday to discuss a new plan, just in case I couldn't see the specialist. Her planned involves seeing a doctor who although is not a perinatologist , sees lots of high risk cases and is very qualified to do the cervical cerclage (if I do become pregnant). And, she got my in next week! This is what I wanted, to talk to another expert.

In the process of getting that appointment, I got yet another opinion- from the nurse prac. She DOESN'T think I have an incompetent cervix and thinks I lost the baby because of bad luck. She also thinks I don't need the cerclage and that I wouldn't be put on bed rest. She says that infertility specialists and OBGYN's often differ on these matters. Great! If professionals cannot agree, how am I, an emotional female who has just got her heart broken, make a wise decision?

We do, however, have an appointment with a social worker from Bethany Adoption Services this week that was easy to obtain and has caused very little frustration. I'm sure that is to come though as we continue our gathering of information in order to make a wise and informed decision.

First Day





Here are some not-so-good-pictures of an eager kindergartener who had no qualms about being dropped off this morning. Despite the rain which caused both the bad pictures and the drop off process to be crazy (we weren't yet informed on the bad weather drop-off policy) things went well. Jake had decided that he didn't want to miss it so I drove and he walked him in (since he'll rarely get to do that).

I hope this afternoon to figure out this "parking line" (which is NOT a drive by and drop off line) and that it stops raining so I can pick him up at his door and maybe snap a decent picture or too.

Me, I'm doing well! I'm amazed at having time to myself and not feeling too sad about it. Maybe that will change since only an hour has gone by but for now I have bills to pay and a friend to meet for lunch (and a deal to work at Walgreens). I think I have some place to be everyday next week and of course, there are big decisions to be made. In the meantime, I will look forward to hearing all about the pizza sticks.

Kindergarten Prep

This week has been kindergarten preparation week. With kindergarten beginning tomorrow we have:

1. Stocked up on lunch box staples (he requested salami, of all things) only to find out that my somewhat picky son is very interested in "hot" lunches (tomorrow is pizza sticks).

2. Made a triple batch of pancakes to freeze because pancakes are his favorite breakfast.

3. Went to kindergarten registration. We put our supplies in our desk, met our teacher Miss Bailey, and found out that we knew two fellow kindergarteners in his class (I quickly traded cell phone numbers with another mommy, "just in case"). We also discovered that kindergarten is very academic and THAT will be another blog all together.

4. Tried on all of our tennis shoes to make sure that they fit (they did) upon discovering at kindergarten orientation that we cannot wear sandals.

5. Used up the last of our summer reading program prizes which involved one trip to the Children's Museum and one visit to a local ice cream store.

6. Had a day-before-kindergarten-Mommy-and-Jonah-baking-time where we used a free Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix to make fabulous cut-out cookies. He colored his own frosting with a variety of food colorings to make some great pastel swirl frosting that went perfect on Christmas bells and Halloween bats.

With tomorrow being a big day I asked him what excited him the most and he said, "Lunch". What makes him nervous? Nap.

One More Adventure




Jake's mom (above) invited Jonah and I on a pre-kindergarten-end-of-the-summer adventure. We took the St. Louis Metro into Forest Park and then took the Forest Park Shuttle to the St. Louis Zoo. Although taking a variety of public transportation is enough of an adventure for us small town folks, we had a great time at the zoo.

I love the St. Louis Zoo because it is FREE and the exhibits are great- the penguins are my favorite. Jonah, with his trusty map, helped "guide" us from one to another. We saw the lions first, then the hippos, the new tiger cubs, the penguins (of course), and a variety of bears and apes in between!

Seeking: Information

Yesterday I was talking to one of my sister-in-laws and mentioned that I had finally gone to the administration building and was now (2 days before school starts) in the system to sub at Jonah's school. I also will sub occasionally at the Christian School.

She said, "I didn't know that was the plan!" I realized that I didn't know that was the plan either! But that is what came together. I doubt I'll get too many days or much income this way but I think that might be for the best for RIGHT NOW. A month from now, that could change.

But this month, I'm in the "gathering information" stage. This stage is a lot harder than I thought. I haven't been about to get into (yet) the doctor that I wanted to see for a second opinion. The nurse (at the pregnancy center where I'm taking my Threads of Hope grief counseling class at)has yet to make and appointment with me to discuss what in the world an "incompetent cervix" is. The adoption counselor (also at the pregnancy center) finally called me last night to tell me that she only works with birth mothers but would be happy to help me all that she could.

So basically I have gathered no useful information to help us make a decision about "what to do next." But with Jonah going to school on Friday and only one sub job on the calendar, I hope to put the gathering into high gear.

I hope to:
1. get a 2nd opinion about whether I have an incompetent cervix or not (and in the process find a new OB because I'm not going back to my current one)

2. find out actually what an incompetent cervix is and what it would mean for a future pregnancy (this really concerns me- IF I get pregnant again, will I be confined to breathing, eating and sleeping for 8 months???)

3. way our options about how aggressive we want to be with getting pregnant again such as if we want to use meds or do IVF again

4. Research different adoptions options. Begin to make a decision on whether we want to proceed with adoption even if we decide to "try again."

I have some pretty serious info to obtain over the next few weeks. We could, of course, use prayer for wisdom during this process. Also, if you are an expert in any of the above subjects, we could use your advice too!

Clean and Organzied

Four months ago when I realized that I WAS NOT having a baby this fall I freaked out. I didn't know how I would make it through the summer. I wondered what I would do. I decided I would do what all women with my type of personality would do in the face of tragedy: organize, redecorate and clean. I couldn't have a baby but I WOULD have a few newly painted rooms and organized closets.

The summer is almost over and Kindergarten is less than two weeks away and the hallway is only halfway painted! We must have spent too much time at the park across the street. I must have over-planned overnight trips, swim lessons, soccer camp, library programs, and play dates at the pool. Now, I'm not complaining because I think Jonah had fun and all of those activities kept me busy and somewhat distracted. I even feel a little proud of myself- I made it through summer and my my kid doesn't think I'm a basket case! We did the zoo and the library and all of those places with a zillion pregnant ladies and babies without driving my hubby crazy with random clean freak attacks.

But since Kindergarten is just 10 days away (and I still haven't decided what I am going to do) I've started feeling the "need to clean" again. I appeased myself a little with:
1. A purchase of a 2nd hand Kirby vaccuum
I had just had a demo in my home while they were canvasing my neighborhood and the very next day I stumbled upon a friend selling one for cheap. I couldn't pass it up and am oh-so-pleased with it. I can't wait to try out the shampooer!
2. Completely reorganizing all of my food cabinets and 2 hall closets and creating a small "pantry" in the closet under my stairs. Oh labeled bins, how do I love thee, your organized contents make me so happy...

I'm saving finishing the hallway for the first full week of school because that will be yet another battle to be won (but I can do it, I haven't even tried ALL of the Kirby attachments yet).

Made It

So we made it through the dreaded due date. I know that the days to come will continue to be hard. For the past four months I've thought "I should be pregnant now", but now I will think "I should have a baby now". That could be a little more difficult to handle, but its hard to tell at this point.

Yesterday went like this:
Jonah and I worked some SWEET Walgreens AND Kroger deals (why stop at just one store) (My advice: Buy a big city paper like the Chicago Tribune, their coupons are AWESOME, well worth the $2.50).

We met my mom for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Jonah and I shared some decent mega nachos.

We got home and I took every food item out of my cabinet and then rearranged several times until I found places for the 11 Kelloggs items and 20 Betty Crocker baking products that I had just purchased for $6.83. The cakes mixes and frostings are now living under an end table.

Jake brought me a rose from one of our bushes and a plant that he had picked up at Kroger on the way home. That was very sweet. He had asked a co-worker where he should stop for flowers on the way home and the co-worker asked "what did you do or what do you want???" Jake laughed and brushed that question off.

My counselor and I had talked about me writing the baby a letter to put in her memory box yesterday but I just didn't feel like it. I went instead with the "staying busy and getting through it" line of thinking.

My day ended with small group (complete with a coupon clipping party) and some rush packing for our trip today. Now I will have a couple days of distraction while hanging out with Jonah in a hotel while Jake is doing a trade show. Time to load up the Crown Vic (when you're going to a police show, you get to ride in style)!

Rubbing Off

After several "bad CVS days" I announced that I was giving it up and once again becoming a "walgreens girl". Here is Jonah's response:


Let it Go

With our due dating being tomorrow there are a lot of things that I have to let go of, the big one being that we are not having a baby this week. We have dubbed tomorrow "sad day" and Jonah knows that the baby was suppose to come tomorrow but she is not therefore mommy and daddy might be a little extra sad.

Although I have to let go of that and many other things, I do not have to let go of my current deal addiction. My dear husband says that I do when I say things such as "I just can't get these cookie coupons to print" or "If I could just get this deal worked out then I will make 1.25 at CVS".

I might sound crazy but it is a worth wild distraction for me right now. I end up with a little extra leftover in my budget and a lot more things in my cabinet. I'm not going to say that all of them are useful, but I will say that most of them are! Did I mention that this was a good distraction for me?

Fabulous deal that I got at CVS this morning:



I spent $1.60 (over 2 transactions) out of pocket (it would have been less but my total was in the negative and the cashier did not know how to adjust down a coupon, so I just had Jonah pick out a pack of gum).

I got:
2 oral B toothbrushes
2 tubes of Crest
1 tube of Colgate
2 bags of Chex Mix
1 bottle of Dawn
4 Cover Girl products
1 children's advil
1 bottle hand sanitizer (on J's school list)
1 bar of soap
and a pack of gum (missing from picture)
I used 12 coupons and $7 in EBCs (Extra Care Bucks) and got 7.29 back in EBCs.

This ended up being a random blog post, but pray that we can get through tomorrow and the weeks to come. I doubt the sweetest of deals will make tomorrow any easier. But I might go to Walgreens and give it a try.

Amen for College Friends

Last night we were at the Decatur Celebration, Illinois' largest free street fair. We had already seen Caedmon's Call once but decided to stay for their late show as well. We returned to our good seats (which were now totally in the shade) and enjoyed another good show. Towards the end of the show a light went on at the Compassion International Tent as they encouraged fans to sponsor a child in need.

As soon as the light came on I knew my good friend Rachel from college was working the booth. I could tell not only from her height and hair but from her stance and the way she pushed her hair back. Even in the shadow-light I knew it was her. Jake bet me 25 cents that it WASN'T our friend as I went over to see her. He owes me a quarter!

It was amazing how being around her made me feel like we were in college again. Although it would 13 years since Fall since our first days in Lincoln Hall together it seemed like there is no way that that much time has passed. Jake went home to put Jonah to bed and after she had helped clean up the booth we walked back to her car together. We decided to be on the look out for vendors who wanted to get rid of some of their $10-a-pop leftovers. I soon found out (via a call from Jake) that the non-English speaking smoothie vendor was giving away free smoothies, but he was out of cups. That was no match for Rachel, who marched into the un-manned Pepsi booth, opened up a box marked "Solo" and came back with 2 cups. She wouldn't have had any problem doing that 10 years ago either! I laughed so hard I almost spilled my free smoothie!

She came back to our house and we all easily shared our "stories". I needed that talk and she said she felt like running into each other was a blessing. I couldn't agree more!

The Job Search

Search is really the wrong word, because I am not doing anything active such as searching. But the jobs that friends have suggested that I apply for are because they "know" someone are:

-4th grade teacher at the local Christian School (am I ready for that commitment?
-Educator at the Children Museum (too much like teaching without the money)
-administration assistant at the Children Museum (too many hours, almost full time)
-barista at Starbucks ( I don't like coffee that much)
-billing "specialist" (I made that title up) at a local counseling office (are they really going to hire someone?)

I've also applied (all on my own) to sub in our district. But I would pretty much just take jobs at J's school because of timing- I don't have anyone to watch him before and after school. But, I'm still not in the system because I lack a current physical even though I've seen several doctors and had many extensive tests. I called my OB office to see if the nurse prac would do it but she has moved to an office a hour away! So now I have to get in as a new patient at a Family Prac. since I haven't been to one since we moved to Illinois.

I'm not loving any of my options (except for maybe the billing job but I don't think anyone knows for sure if they really can afford to hire someone). So I'm hoping that someone else will know someone else and point them in my direction!

Deciding to not decide

With our due date being only a week away (August 5) we decided that maybe now is not the time to make any major decisions in the "what to do next" department. While its hard not to take the specialist recommendation to do a round of fertility meds this month I do feel a little relieved not to have to worry about it all just a little longer.

Fertility meds mean dealing with a mail order drug company plus many last minute trips to the clinic an hour away. And, it could be quite the hormone "trip" as well. With kindergarten approaching and my mind a mess anyway, avoiding all of that for now seems wise.

Maybe we're passing up a chance, but we more think we are waiting until we are ready. At least more ready than we are now. Many of you have asked what my test results mean, especially details on the incompetent cervix. Well, I don't know, but I'm ready to find out (I think). A friend of mine, who is a doctor, advised me to start doing some research and that she thinks I'll be encouraged by the statistics (meaning the chances of carrying a baby full term after you are diagnosed and precautions are taken). I'm hoping to meet with a nurse and my counselor this week or next for some details on those statistics and percautions. I've been avoiding doing a lot of Internet research. There is so much to sort through and I never know what to believe anyway.

So as we wait I'm trying not to think about how old I'm getting or how Jonah will be or how it will never happen. But I'm instead TRYING to believe that we're doing the best thing for us right now.

Lacking: Common Sense

As it ended up, I had scheduled both J's kindergarten physical and my crazy x-ray all in the same day. There was much hoopla in getting J an appointment because his doctor no longer gives immunizations at his office. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing since I was looking for an excuse to find a new doctor for him, not because I don't love everyone in the office because I do, but because his doctor recently renamed his practice a "health spa" which I find a little weird. Even the nurse suggested I look elsewhere if our insurance covers immunizations, which it does, since its cheaper than going one place for a physical and to the health dept. for the shots. And easier, so I thought.

I took her suggestion and called the office which is right next door to theirs, they even share a waiting room. Now, I only talked to both the "old" and "new" offices, the health department, and the insurance company all at least once. All of which told me I probably want to go elswhere. Don't they want my business? I guess they all seemed to think it would be cheaper for me to go somewher that wasn't them. UGH. I finally settled on the "new" office and got an appointment one month out. When they scheduled my appointment for the x-ray I found out that the specialist was only going to be in town one day this month, the same day as the hard to get kindergarten physical. I told the nurse this much and she worked out the times for me like she understood what it would mean to change it (a big fat headache, 4 more phone calls...). For some reason I lacked all common sense and thought it was a good idea to go ahead and do both in the same day.

In the midst of gathering things up for both appointments plus a meal on the road I forgot one important thing: J's shot record. It didn't even cross my mind! We get to his new doctor and the recepionist asks if I would like to pay for a physical or have it billed to my insurance as a well child visit. I was thinking, "Hmmm, do I want to pay for it out of my pocket or have the insurance company pay for it? Isn't that why I have insurance?". As I was thinking, she asks "are you sure your insurance covers well child? UGH. I was pretty sure that they did but to make sure I call them from the office. Just as J was getting weighed the insurance company rep. says that they will cover it, as along as its coded correctly.

But then the nurse asks for his shot record, which I of course had forgotten and hadn't thought of until she mentions it. She then wants to code the physical differently and send me to the health department for his shots. Since I had changed doctors in order to do it all at once (and because we had talked up shots for a whole month AND because I wanted an excuse to change doctors) I said I would go home right then and come with the shot record so we could do shots TODAY. And that is what I did. And hopefully it didn't cost me out the wazoo. J got 4 shots which he cried on #2,#3, and #4 but still did great. And even though it was only 10:30am I still thought he deserved a Happy Meal with a new transformer toy in it. (Although I forgot socks so he couldn't play in the Playplace and I wasn't going home AGAIN).

One huge doctor's appointment in one day is all I can handle. Now I know. But its done and now we can officially go to kindergarten!

Deja Vu

Laying on the x-ray table today reminded me of a couple weeks ago when I was standing in my kitchen and the repair man took one look inside my oven and said "you have a burned out heating element." Only this time it was the specialist talking about my cervix. After taking the first or second image he quickly informed me "you have an incompetent cervix."

"Is that why I lost the baby?" I asked, near tears.

"Yeah" he says.

"Are you positive?"

"I never say positive, that can get me into trouble but I'm so sure that I will suggest that you get pregnant again. And this is good news, I can fix that (meaning the incompetent cervix)."

If only it was as easy as signing check and giving the repair man the go ahead to fix the problem. If only this came with a guarantee.

How am I feeling? Tired and cramping from the meds and procedure. Relieved to FINALLY KNOW. But also wondering, do we? Does he really know what he is talking about? Sad and frustrated because it probably could have been prevented. Overwhelmed, but not without hope, about the decision that we have to make.

How would you feel about this information? What would you now do?

Passed!





Jonah passed level 2 (Guppies) last week! I didn't think he would pass because he just couldn't "scoop ice cream." Scooping ice cream (vanilla is always with your right hand and chocolate is always with your left, according to Jonah) is the basic front stroke (is that the proper name?) and he just couldn't get it! It was just too hard to keep your arms straight when you have to "scoop" them for a full 360 degrees! But it turns out, they just have to be able to float alone in order to pass this level. And we can float! So next summer we are ready for the next level, Beginner's Swimming!

He even jumped off the diving board a bunch but someone was always there to catch him. I think he was a little frustrated when we went to the pool today and I wouldn't catch him, but we stuck to the slide (where I can touch and safely catch him) and he was fine with that!

(Wacky) Wisdom

In honor of my husband's Jake's 31st Birthday, which is today, I've linked to some past posts where my dear husband reveals wisdom from his past 3 plus decades.

On Romance

On Home Repair

On Parenting

On Math

On pumpkin carving

Five Bites

I was cooking dinner one day last week and J asked what we were having. I told we were having tacos. He say "Yea, now I don't have to have five bites!"

I figured out that he meant this: on nights when we doesn't eat a thing on his plate we tell him he has to eat five bites (because he is five). Because he likes tacos he doesn't need any encouragement to eat 5 (or more) bites.

Here are the things that Jonah says does NOT require the Five Bite Rule at dinner time:

some that aren't a surprise, loves by MOST kids:
Tacos
nachos
Spaghetti
Pizza
Hot dogs
Mac and Cheese
applesauce
french fries
mashed potatoes
sausage
any kind of fruit
green beans
grilled cheese

and some that you might not expect:
garbanzo beans (straight from the can, often for breakfast)
hummus (like Daddy makes)
carrots
peas (slightly frozen is fine)
sweet potatoes
black olives
raw peppers


DEFINITLY require the Five Bite Rule:
eggs
fish
any kind of meat that is not in the form of a nugget
salad (all lettuce is salad)
mushrooms, zuchinni, other "weird" veggies and any combination of

Depends on the Day:
hamburgers
pasta with a sauce other than red or powered cheese
things that he likes mixed together

Who needs Lexapro?

The rant of a depressed woman and the cures of chocolate:

I realized how reliant I am this weekend, when we were visiting family. My mother-in-law said that chocolate chips make a good anti-depressant. A handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips might cure the my-husband-is away-on-a-business-trip-blues or the feeling of I-can't-handle-one-more-episode-of-Power-Rangers, but I need something MORE right now. She suggested Hershey kisses. And if you feel like you STILL need more after that, wash it down with some chocolate syrup, straight from the bottle. I think that chocolate syrup without the milk would make me feel worse, not better. But washing it down with a peanut butter fudge shake from Sonic, that might scoop me right out of the depths of despair. But since there isn't a Sonic in a 30 mile radius, that really isn't an option.

But speaking of peanut butter, I used to think that Reeses were the ultimate cure all for not having a boyfriend, babysitting on New Years Eve, or any other teenage angst. But when I turned 30 I wanted the "real deal." Why have peanut butter when you can have peanuts, or better yet almonds or cashews smoothered in chocolate?

I've just "happened upon" a few Hershey bars with almonds in the last few weeks. One was given to me at VBS for "helping" but the others I'm sure I HAD to buy at CVS for a filler so I could get a sweet deal. I then mentioned that I had gone through a bag and and half of Hershey minatures in the last few weeks. But that's not entirely true- I've finished off all of the Mr. Goodbars. When Jonah asks if can have one I try and direct him away from "the yellow ones" and say wouldn't you rather have a "red one" as I hand him the not-so-favorite Krackle bar.

So the next time a doctor, specialist, counselor, nurse, friend (and whoever else, because everyone asks) if I need a "happy pill" I can say that I already have one that is working for now, so don't write that presciption quite yet (as I crumple up another yellow wrapper...).

The Frustrating Four

Here are four frustrating things that happened to me yesterday, in the order of which they happened:

1. Unhappy Lady at the regional educational building told me that the FBI might not approve me to sub because I don't have any fingerprints and I might have to (drive all the way across town)come back and try again. She also said that I had the smallest fingers that she has ever seen (except in the movies, sorry if you don't get that joke but I just couldn't help it)and maybe that was part of the problem.

2. The stove parts sales man said that there was NO WAY we had a broken heating element since I was getting some heat, so Jake put the part back and scheduled Repair Man to come out.
Repair Man barely had the oven open when he said "Heating element is out".
"But I'm getting some heat", I said.
"Its because the broiling element is coming on during the preheating process" Repair Man stated.
So then I paid him $105 for taking the old one out with a screw driver and replacing it with a new one (which by the way costs $30 at the store!!!). He was there a total of 20 minutes.

3. Infertility Specialist Nurse called to give me the bad news about my blood tests- my hormone levels are low and the "high" they were expecting post pregnancy seems to be non-existent. That means that getting pregnant without medical assistant doesn't seem to be likely since ovulation has to actually occur for that to happen and the results show that my body probably isn't doing that. Frustration is a pretty mild term for what I am feeling right now!

4. CVS did not have any wonderful deals for me to "work" last night. I need my "CVS Therapy" (CVS Therapy is when getting lots of free stuff at CVS makes me feel better, purposeful, successful) (don't say anything about CVS Therapy being unhealthy because I DON'T CARE).

You've got to be kidding me

So I think I've been handling the unexpected pretty well while in my grief stricken state.

I've had to have my van towed twice, paid $800 to get it fixed only to pick it up and discover that it is now missing a hubcap. I did not pay the big bucks to get in return the getto van, thanks! But whatever right?! Not a big deal in the scheme of things.

And I survived a very unpleasant experience at the dentist. And I'm sure I'll do fine when I have two wisdom teeth extracted in the near future by my Power Ranger-look-alike-dentist.

But I CANNOT HANDLE A BROKEN OVEN!!! I'm a planner. I have a menu. I cook and bake. I was going to make a BBQ chicken pizza tonight for dinner that I was looking forward to putting together. And how am I suppose to manage 2 pans of brownies for the youth group who is coming over for some ultimate Frisbee tomorrow night?

I thought that the refrigerator biscuits that I popped in the oven to go with some sausage gravy on Sunday night took a little longer than usual. And the oven just didn't feel very hot. But it wasn't until the chocolate chip cookies that Jake begged me to make last night just wouldn't cook (after being in the oven a half hour) that I realized that something must be wrong! He then cranked the oven up to 450 degrees which only burnt the outside while leaving a gooey uncooked center.

I guess I will be looking for a stove repair man this afternoon. I hope I don't have to get a new one because I love my flat top stove that my friend Carol gave me (and I'm not sure if I can convince Jake to shell out the bucks for another like it).

The real question is: should I attempt to make my pizza on the grill or just pick up some tortillas and have BBQ chicken quesadillas instead? I need a plan, or I WILL lose it!!

A New Theory

Yesterday was my appointment with the infertility specialist. I really had mixed feelings about seeing him.

I was pretty sure he was NOT going to tell us:
to stop trying
the reason my water broke

I was fairly certain he would:
cuss a decent amount (he probably would have been a sailor instead of a reproductive specialist if this was 1908 instead of 2008....)
encourage us to do invitro again


Of course, I wanted him to tell me that there is at least a chance of us getting pregnant again and carrying to term but I am also desperate to find out what happened! I also am not ready to do IVF again and don't know if I ever will be. For those reasons, I wasn't looking forward to this meeting. But because I hoped he would have some answers for me I couldn't help but feel the need to talk to him.

I got 2 1/2 right. The only unwholesome talk that came out of his month was "this really sucks" (and it does so all I could do was agree with him). Anyway, I will only count that as 1/2. But I was right on about 2 other things: he says I am not done and that I should do IVF again. He was very understanding about how I wasn't ready to do that right now and even developed a plan based on his theory for "what happened". Yes, he has a theory and yes there is a procedure to do to see if he is right! I am so glad that I was wrong about that one. Of course, there is no guarantee that he is right and even if is he, he can't necessary prevent it from happening again. But he can try!!!

I feel renewed with hope today. He said I only had a decent chance of getting pregnant on my own but it wouldn't hurt a thing to try. We will schedule a special x-ray for next month to check his theory (I might have an incompetent cervix, I knew some part of my female reproductive system wasn't doing their job...) and hopefully get some blood test results back soon to check on my hormone levels. IF I do get pregnant again, then he will "stitch" my cervix to help it do its job correctly. None of that is "for sure" or mean that I will get my happy ending, but it makes me feel like I have a chance.

Sorry if that cervix talk was too much for some of you, but remember, I offered to put it on another blog...

Hogging the Limelight

Jake made the media again, along with Jonah this time.

Check out the Herald and Review to see them in our local paper. I had a my Threads of Hope bible study but I sent Jake to this kindergarten readiness meeting. There is actually an office whose goal is the research and development of curriculum to prepare for kindergarten.

The best thing about it was that he received 11 free books and activities to do with each of them! But has he looked at each of them Jonah said that he had read them at his school so apparently they had done the program at his pre-school, which was part of the public school system. Oh well, we will do it again at home and enjoy our free books.

How Its Made

My husband likes to blog about particular things that make people make statements such as " I read your blog today and didn't get it", "What were you talking about?", and "I stopped reading your blog months ago." Those comments don't seem to bother him. Because I don't know if he'll share the exciting event that happened to him yesterday, I'm going to do it for him!

Yesterday the Discovery Channel's show "How Its Made" came to his workplace to do a segment on the radar gun! Jake was the contact person and spent the whole day at the plant while they filmed the show. He also took the crew (4 French speaking Canadians) out to lunch where they informed him that it was Quebec Independence Day. Because they had to celebrate they were pretty sure that the camera man, who "celebrated" the most, would be a little out of focus for the afternoon shooting.

WAND came to record the event, click here to get to their website. Its currently the video on the homepage so all you have to do is click on it. I haven't figured out how to save the video or how long it will be up!

Environmental Theory at its finest

I remember learning many theories about what effects children as they develop back from classes such as Child Development. One such theory by B.F. Skinner stated that environment was what effected children the most. Here are some funny examples of just that (well sort of, you probably won't see these in a text book).

As we were reading a book entitled "A diary of a worm" J asks, "what is a diary?" "A diary", I say, "is like a blog, only on paper." "Ohhhhhhhhhh" he says, now understanding.


How many more days of CVS? J really meant VBS. You can tell his mommy drags him somewhere besides church way too much!

At Wal-mart last week: Do you want a Spiderman or Spongebob t-shirt? J asks, "We can get it? Is it on sale?" Oh course its on sale ($3 with a pair of pants included)!

Mighty Morphin Dentist Power







Jonah tells everyone that our dentist is a power ranger! Not only does he have similar facial features of Jason David Frank who played Tommy during numerous seasons of Power Rangers but he also has the same long black hair. Jonah told him that he looked just like him and he said "I get that a lot, you can call me Tommy!". What a crack up, he told me that if I let him know the next time before I bring J in, he'll dress up in Power Ranger-like suit! What a good sport.

He was also very understanding when I had a meltdown in the dentist chair this morning! He warned me it might hurt and maybe I would need a root canal and that was all it took for me to burst into tears! I'm just so tired of being warned about the "worst case scenario" and then it coming true, I just couldn't take it. Poor guy felt SO bad! If he could just morph or call upon his dentistry zords to make everything all better... I'm to call him in the morning to let him know how I am feeling so he can decide what he needs to do next. I really hope I don't have to go back tomorrow, I'm so embarrassed!