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.


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:
-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

-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.

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...