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!


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.