The couponing craze

Recently my friend Sarah began couponing with a passion. In her wisdom she has a discovered a VERY helpful blog that does much of the work for you. In the past I've always been unsucessful at finding coupons on the internet and others deals involving combining several offers. But MoneySavingMom does all of the work for you in one easy to read and informative blog. If she is telling you about a deal involving an internet coupon then the link is right there. She also gives you different senerios for how to save money at a particular store, walks you through rebate offers and other things you might be new at and posts reader's grocery shopping trips for the week.

In Sarah's blog she talks about her recent trips to CVS and Target and the money she saved. Today, since I was on that part of town, I gave it a try. It is the trend on these money saving sites to take pictures of your deals, so here is mine:

Both Sarah and MoneySavingMom describe in detail how you get can get these deals, so I won't do that. But I will say that I spent $5.54 (I will not get back) and got everthing in the above picture (6 regular size Pantene products, each with 2 sample size bottles of shampoo or conditioner; 2 tubes of Aquafresh and 2 Colgate toothbrushes). It did get back two $5 Target gift cards and over $7 in CVS cash register rewards (to be used in 30 days on my next purchase).

The above was fun and maybe a good deal, but my favorite thing about Sarah's research is that she discovered that you can now put coupons on your Kroger card! I've tried that before on the Kroger web site but it wasn't working yet, and now it is! MoneySavingMom has three links on her recent post "Krogering and e-coupons" where with very little work you can upload the coupons to your card. When you click "pay now" at the self check-out the coupons are deducted. MoneySavingMom also says that you can use e-coupons with manufacter coupons from the paper to get even better deals or possibly the item for free! I didn't have the right coupons to combine but I did use the e-coupons to get both Wisk laundry soap, Jake's very expensive shampoo, bread, and english muffins all for the price that I usually pay for the shampoo.

I'm loving having other people in the money saving blogging world help me save money!

Threads of Hope

Over the last two months many people, mostly in the medical profession, have given me information about grief support groups. Without exception they have said things like "it may or may not work you", "everyone doesn't like them" or "its worth giving it a try" when referring to support groups. Since I haven't gotten a positive report and wasn't sure about the reason for their hesitancy, I took my time joining one.

On one of the papers I was given "Threads of Hope" was starred being that is was specific to pregnancy loss and stillbirth. I called them last week and someone returned my call on Saturday morning. The lady said that she always meets one on one for the first meeting.

Today was our scheduled meeting, at the local crisis pregnancy center. I was pretty uncomfortable sitting in the lobby with three 18 year old moms. Especially when one of them started talking about how kids are "drags." But I was soon called back by a very nice lady named Eileen, maybe in her 60's (who has colicular implants so I had to remember to speak clearly). When she started our conversation with the fact that she lost a baby 30 years I thought that this might be a repeat of our first counseling experience (where the couselor was extremly emotional). But that turned out not to be true at all. She was great and has met with many women in my situation.

It also looks like that this is NOT a support group (so I guess I won't find out the reason for all of the warnings) but instead a nine week bible study entitled "Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy" by Teale Fackler and Gwen Kik. I go through it one on one with the leader and then if she feels I am ready she will pair me up with someone who has had a similar experience. AND she usually meets with women like me at night, so we can avoid the lobby "traffic" that is hard for me to handle right now.

Before I left she gave me a pretty white beaded bracelet with a tiny silver footprint charm. She said she would have many little gifts to give me over the next several weeks to help in the healing and hoping process. I thought that was very sweet but it also made me feel good to be in class (that is what Eileen calls it) and that I'm definilty not the only one who has gone has experienced a pregnancy loss and the even more hopeful thing is that those women survived it!

Too Much?

Lately many friends have commented on how deep, transparent, or sad my blog has become. My question has been: too sad? too transparent? too deep?

All of the grief info says to not make any major decisions in the next 12 months, but I'm thinking adding another blog isn't what they are talking about (no job transfers to the West Coast for us right now). So that's my question: should I add a grief blog and focus on the process that I'm going through in hopes that it will help someone in google land going through a similiar situation? I think stories about how my five year old typically picks rather professional type adults to be evil orges (such as Jake's lawyer uncle or my Sunday School teacher) for him to fight using his power ranger moves isn't what they want to read. Also, many of you would probably rather skip the saddness and go right to the above mentioned power ranger story.

So do I keep Tales of a Stay-at-Home mom (but maybe change the name since I might no longer be one) and another grief focused blog (title needed as well) or do I leave it all here in one big hodgepodge?

In Need of an Analogy

Often I feel so sad I might describe it as "my heart being slowing ripped from my chest." Or I might feel so shocked or depressed that I feel "like I was hit by a bus." But lately I've been very frustrated. But as frustrated as what? Like I could spit nails? I think that is usually used to describe anger and spitting nails? I have trouble imagining it so I don't think I can validate using it to describe my feelings!

Even though I can't think of the right analogy, I can explain the reasons why I've been frustrated:
1. People keep asking what my plans are for the summer.

Hmmmm...well, I didn't think I could travel so we definitely don't have any trips planned. I thought I might be digging out the baby stuff and putting a bedroom together- so there goes my "home improvement plans." My plans? Well, today I feel like I was hit by a truck and tomorrow I'll probably feel as if my heart is being ripped out so, surviving? Is that an appropriate response? I have a goal to NOT cry more and more as August 5th approaches and to somehow be a little bit of a fun Mommy so J doesn't beg to go to Kindergarten summer school just so he can get out of our depressing house!

2. Money Lost.

Ugh. There are bills, bills and more bills. Over three years of treatments and meds not to mention what we racked up in our two day emergency. And the endless amounts spent on gas to go to out of town appointments. My mother-in-law just reminded me how expensive gravestones are. Ugh again. I was suppose to be buying cute little girl stuff this summer, NOT, of all things, a gravestone.

3. Time Lost.

I didn't feel well for a least a year before I got pregnant due to fertility meds. I spent many evenings on the couch. And that only increased when I got pregnant. I felt well very few days out of the whole five months. It makes me so mad to think of the days I slept on the couch while J watch an extra hour of TV. And all of the times I was on some kind of restricted movement or bedrest. J still questions when I lift him at the playground "you can lift me, Mommy?", since I hadn't been able to for half a year. Most people have morning sickness or go on bedrest and come out with a baby at the end, I however, did not.

But they say that you can't win the prize if you didn't run the race, right? We're just not guaranteed a place in the winners circle.


I think I have admitted before that I read way too much historical Christian Romances. I'm trying to branch out, I really am. But the point is that I was reading one a few weeks ago and noticed when I finished the book there was, of course, a happy ending. Following the Happy Ending there was an Epilogue. "Oh No" I thought, this is where they have the baby (I'll say again, I've read A LOT of Christian Romances). So I read how the newly married couple (who met under unusual circumstances and over came nearly impossible obstacles) where expecting their first baby, blah blah blah.

That led me to this deep thought which I been mulling over for almost a month now: Have I ALREADY got my Happy Ending? Is anything else just the Epilogue, the icing, the bonus or however you want to put it?

AND, if that is true, how do I enjoy my Happy Ending instead of just waiting around for the Epilogue? How do we NOT put our life on hold and enjoy what we have been blessed with? I mean I do have a very healthly little boy and a Linux loving husband who loves me too. Granted, we have to continue to mourn what we have lost, but is it possible to live as though our life is complete (and really believe it) when I've felt the incompleteness staring me hard in the face for three years? Can I just be hopeful for an Epilogue but not overtaken by the the desire?

Maybe this was a senseless post. Or maybe I'm not the only one hoping for an Epilogue of some kind (probably in other types of fiction different things happen during the Epilogue...).

Kindergarten Bound

Jonah on his first day of pre-school back in September.

Jonah and his best friend at the end of the year picnic. He LOVES his friend Brylan (who he has pronounced Brawlin all year up until the last few weeks then we suddenly began saying it Bri(long I)lan, I found out yesterday that the 2nd way is the correct way). But apparently, according to his teachers, they were inseparable all year long! They will be going to different kindergartens, which J is very sad about. He keeps asking me "how will I make new friends?"

Since we are officially finished with pre-school I guess that technically means we are now a kindergartner (sigh).

"Jesus the Soccer Star"

It the midst of everything our new camera came in and we FINALLY have video capablilites. This is my first experience with posting something on YouTUBE.

This is a video from the closing program for our Wednesday night Chrisitian Life Club at church. Jonah would be front and center doing a little air guitar followed by some power ranger moves.

Completely Unconclusive

My doctor called this week with the results of my final round of tests. The good news is that I do not have a scary disease. The bad news is that they didn't find anything, not even a little disease like I was hoping for. Something easily curable that had obviously caused the unthinkable to happen would be nice. But they, of course, found nothing.

He also shared that he had only see this happen (I assume that he met premature rupture of membranes that results in infant death) 3 other times since he has been practicing here in town which I think he said was 5 or 6 years. For some reason I think if he had said "this happens more often than you think" I would be comforted by that somehow. But instead I've spent the last 24 hours feeling more frustrated than sad or depressed. Medical professionals have found no reason why this happened, and therefore they don't know if it will happen again or if it was related to our infertility or infertility treatment. It could have just happened and be related to nothing. It could have been caused by some infection that hasn't revealed what it was or where it came from.

I think my frustration is justified. The little girl we dreamed about was taken from me, I feel robbed and no one can tell me why or if it will happen again! I think I need to go back to Florida where I'm surrounded my AARP members (not pregnant women and those with many small children)and sunshine! And to top off my frustation a nurse prac from the infertility specialist's office is suppose to call today to give their input and I left my phone in my friend's bathroom...

The key chain culprit

Yesterday I had loaded my van up with TP, charcoal, and two weeks worth of groceries and was preparing to drive home and drop off my goods before picking up Jonah from pre-school. When I got in the van and stuck my key in the ignition I was surprised that the key wouldn't turn. I had remembered that a couple of times in the past that the steering wheel had locked up on the car and that if I gave it some muscle I could unlock it and that would allow the key to turn. But the steering wheel didn't really feel locked, but I tried anyway. I called Jake and he told me to try harder. I did and in the process really locked up the steering wheel.

Jake met me in the Aldi's parking lot to confirm that the steering wheel wasn't the problem, that it had to be in the lock. He called AAA and asked them to send a locksmith. We then rushed to drop off the cold stuff at home and to get Jonah. I dropped Jake off at work and went back to Aldi's only to meet a tow truck, not a locksmith. But he kindly towed my van to his locksmith of choice who says that they fix this kind of stuff all day long. Two hours later it was finished. A tumbler or something like that had broke within the lock, apparently it happens a lot with Chrysler mini vans. They also said that heavy key chains can be the culprit. Maybe I only need 1 LED flashlight, not two. But I'm keeping the whistle.

Mother's Day vs. the day before and the day after

Honestly, I was a little afraid of Mother's Day this year, I thought it might be a little more sad than most days. But my brother wanted to have everyone over for a cookout so we skipped church and town and headed to his house a couple of hours away in my parents' van. It was pouring down rain and hanging out with his in-laws was a welcome distraction, especially when Jonah could be heard saying "I'm not you're boyfriend" to my brother's 3 year old niece whenever she tried to hold his hand. When we got home we headed straight for a high school graduation party where Jonah followed around his favorite tween and Jake and I hung out with friends and watched home movies of the graduate. Before we went to bed that night Jake told me that he would refinish our dining room table for me for Mother's Day. Oh yeah, I had forgotten the day I was trying to forget!

The day before Mother's Day was unexpectedly much more sad than the holiday that I had feared. It was my first big garage sale day of the season and my mom and I were consistently reminded of things that I was SUPPOSE to be buying. It was sad to pass up the snuggly still in the box and the "in good condition" changing table. My dad wisely made the sales where we could see a sea of pink "drive-bys".

That brings me to the day after Mother's Day. I'm a little embarrassed about what happened that morning and Jake keeps laughing about it. I had signed up for a a few coupons via the internet with various baby product companies when I had found out that we were having a girl. In the past 6 weeks I had calming unsubscribed whenever I something ended up in my inbox. I had received one coupon in the mail which Jake tried to throw away without me seeing it. I rescued it to give to my friend Sarah because I'm not so depressed that I would throw away a $1.50 diaper coupon! But the e-mails have stopped except from Gerber. I have tried before to unsubscribe and was obviously unsuccessful. I attempted to try again on Monday only to find myself on a screen that said "Norah is on her way". Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, UNSUBSCRIBE! I was anything but calm when I called this poor lady from Gerber who said that she would walk it down there herself RIGHT NOW. I only hope that she could understand me enough over my sobs to give IT the right info or their e-mails will continue to taunt me (I did mark them as spam in hopes that that will take care of it if that was the case).

Beach Bum Photos

We loved the sunshine, but we almost enjoyed nights on the beach even better! Above are some pics from both.

Notice Jonah be a "sand monster". Jumping into the ocean followed by laying facedown in the sand kept him entertained for several chapters of the books we were reading...