Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deep Thoughts

...not by Jack Handey

I didn't think that my 50th post would be so heavy but I just finished reading an article that put me in tears and I have to write about it. Just a warning...this is very long but I need to get some of this out.

My mother-in-law recently passed on the July issue of Self magazine to me and there is an article in it called "Who Controls Childbirth?" It's an article about a woman who is pregnant with her 2nd child and she struggles with how the 2nd childbirth is going to go. Her first experience didn't turn out as she had hoped and she's hoping for a VBAC this time around (vaginal birth after cesarian for those who don't know the term). It's hard for me not to just go through and quote paragraphs of the article because some of it could have been said by me.
I know I've written my birth experiences before, but I haven't here. I feel the need to explain the backstory and maybe even talk about some things most people don't know about.

I had a great pregnancy with Nora. I really did. I can't complain much at all about it. I only gained 29 pounds, didn't have major swelling or other high risk pregnancy issues. The last month was a bit of a bear, but anyone who says the last month isn't rough needs to be slapped.
I went into spontanious labor with her 4 days before her due date. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart when we went off to the hospital. Without making this toooo terribly long of a story, it took me 26 hours (in the hospital...not counting my time laboring at home) to get to 10cm. I pushed and nothing happened...she wouldn't budge. After being in labor so long, and watching Nora's heart rate on the monitors, we decided that a c-section was needed. She was delivered and was beautiful and healthy. As the doctor was checking everything before sewing me back up he realized that my bladder tore during the delivery. Nora was taken to the nursery and Jim along with her. I was put under and had 3 more hours of surgery to repair my bladder.

Needless to say, my post-partum experience was not that great. I was dealing with a normal c-section recovery as well as recovery from a torn bladder. I had a cathetar in for 2 weeks, had a blood transfusion 3 days after the birth because I became anemic, and had rediculous amounts of swelling in my legs.

Although I will NEVER complain about the fact that I had a great pregnancy and ended up with a beautiful healthy baby girl, I have always been a bit disappointed over how everything went. To quote the Self magazine article "Everyone is allowed her own sense of loss." Amen to that. I know that many people have had it worse than me, but that doesn't discount that I had a difficult time as well. "I have stopped judging women who take extra precautions as defensive and started to understand that everyone has to find her way, " she continues on.
What a lot of people don't know is that I did go see a psychologist some time after Nora was born. I was having a tough time and knew that I was dealing with some post partum depression. I needed to talk to someone. Unfortunatly, during our second visit, she commented to me that she felt I could have ADHD. Now, I know that I have some mental issues but I do NOT feel I have ADHD and I was irritated that she wanted to pursue diagnosing me...that's not why I was there. I called and cancelled our 3rd visit and never saw anyone else again.

When I was pregnant with Emmett I felt that I definatly wanted to have a VBAC. I really, really wanted to try and go for the birth experience that I wanted the first time around. As the pregnancy went on, after talking to multiple nurses and doctors, talking with my husband and family and listening to my heart, I realized that trying for a VBAC could be just as tramatic (if not more) than my first experience. If I ended up in the same senario with Emmett as I did with Nora, doing another c-section after laboring puts me at high risk for complications. I know that many, many women have successful VBAC's but risking my own health and the health of my son was not something I was willing to well as my crushing disappointment if something went wrong. We decided to schedule a c-section, and as I sat on the operating table, getting ready for them to numb me up I looked at Jim, through tear-filled eyes, and asked, "This is the right choice, right?"

I will never know if I could have had a successful VBAC. Tears are falling down my cheeks as I write this, so I know that it's still a difficult subject for me. What I do know is that my 2nd experience, although not what I ideally hoped for, was MUCH better. My recovery, although still tough, (what c-section recovery isn't?) was easier. I was actually able to walk in the halls of the hospital the next day (I didn't walk for 2 days after Nora was born). My cathetar came out after a day (praise the Lord). I got to be with my son for the first few hours of his life (something I didn't have with Nora) and the hospital staff was amazing. I had such wonderful people. I was so blessed...and still AM blessed. I am blessed with my health and the health of my son and my daughter. I thank God for them every day.

I will end this by quoting the last paragraph of the article and you'll understand why it touched me so much (the article was written before her 2nd birth occured)
"I hope there will be a moment when the noise of the nurses and the doctors and the doula will fall into the background. I will look down at my baby -whether he is handed to me on my belly or from behind a curtain as my body is sewn shut - and I will remember what I've known from the beginning, when I looked down at that plus sign and we were alone together for the first time....I will know that I am his mother and he is my son. And maybe, in that moment, I will be ready to say that the only success and failure is the outcome of the birth, that we are healthy. I hope I mean it."

I hope she does mean it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

50 cents or less

Yep, I ended up going shopping Tuesday again but at least it wasn't at 9pm. I didn't do a ton of shopping this week. I realized that I really need to use out of some of the food we already have, especially after my freezer disaster. sigh...But here's what I picked up.

I picked up the Goldfish on Saturday because I had 2 coupons that were expirimg that day (and another one as well). They were on sale for $1 this week (which is a good price in and of itself) but then I had my three $1 off coupons which means FREE goldfish. Nora doesn't like the regular cheese kind but she LOVES the grahams. :)
The other items I got today. They were a part of the buy 8 get $4 off sale. They cat litter was on sale for $1.49 and I had a $1 off coupon so that was .49!

The Capri Sun was a random find. I needed to buy some mac-n-cheese and KS has their 5 packs on sale for $2.99. On the packages there is a peelie for FREE Capri Sun! I'm not joking! Not all the packages had them so go to your store and see if you can find them. Because of the good sale price, and the free Capri Sun I bought two packages (we're set on mac-n-cheese for a while now). The sale price of the Capri Sun (with the B8 sale) was $1.47 but the cashier rang the coupons in at the regular price so that gave me $2.11 off. I made $1.28 on them!! I don't know how long the mac-n-cheese will be on sale, but I highly recommend running over to your store and seeing if you can find this deal. :)

It's not all bad

...having the flu for a day and a half (I can say that now, but I wouldn't have said that yesterday).

I got on the scale this morning to find that I'm 1 pound under my prepregnancy weight! I'm sure it won't last but seeing that number made me uber happy. Now I just need to keep going and get all this softness turned into muscle. I just got a free DVD in the mail yesterday. It was from a Walgreens catalina for a totally free DVD from Self magazine (just paid for the stamp to mail in the offer). It's a workout DVD called "Self Trim and Tone Fast!"...guess it's a sign. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Throwin' it all away...

I think one of the worst things a frugal person can do is just throw away food. I hate it. I hate throwing away food. I don't like throwing away leftovers, I don't like tossing out stale chips...I just don't like to toss out food. Today I had to do something that just about did me in.
I went out to our deep freeze to get some hamburger for our lunch and found something horrible. As I opened the chest I heard a sloshing sound. Our deep freeze was off and I have no idea how long it had been that way. It was still cool inside but the items on the top were totally thawed out. We found out that a breaker was tripped to the outlet and that's what shut it off (we're still not sure how that happened).
I was in a panic trying to get the freezer back on and move anything I could into our other freezers. As I dug into the layers I found that everything under the top layer or two was still somewhat frozen so it should still be safe. I immediately had a few items I had to toss and then others I had to think about. I know there shouldn't be anything to think about when it comes to food safety, but I just couldn't start tossing it in the trash right away.
After supper we went through and realized what all needed to go. Pork chops, beef, italian sausage, chicken, pizzas, ice cream, hot dogs....all in the trash. I started crying part way through and Jim had to finish. I know it might seem silly to cry over it, but I couldn't help it. I know that many of those items I purchased very inexpensively but it was just the action of unwrapping it and throwing out that I couldn't handle. It was no ones fault, and there was nothing I could do about it...but it was hard.
Jim said that it all balances out with what I save all the time, but I don't want it to balance out. I want to save and that's that. I don't want to feel ok about throwing out 4 packages of hot dogs because I only spent 50 cents a piece on them. Or throwing out 3 large pork chops because they were marked down and only paid a couple dollars for them. I spend extra time cutting coupons and watching the sale ads so that we DO save money. I wasn't just throwing food away. I was throwing away time and energy as well.
There may be more that will end up going (I don't think we should probably keep the other pizzas that were in there). It just makes me sad and made for a really rough day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

50 cents or less

Last week I really didn't have much of anything but this week was much better! King Soopers has their Buy 8, get $4 off sale. I paired some of those items (24 of them actually) with coupons and made out alright. And yes, I ended up shopping at 8pm Tues. night...even though this deal continues through the current week.
B8 means the "buy 8 get $4 off deal)

Old El Paso Rice, beans and taco shells - B8 + three $1/2 coupons = .49 each
Sobe drinks - B8 + 2 BOGO coupons = Free (they were .49 with the sale but the cashier gave me .99 for each coupon so they ended up being free)
Total - B8 + two $1 coupons = .49 each
Toaster Strudel - B8 + $1/2 (I did buy 2) + .50 cellfire online coupon = .49
Athenos Hummus -on sale for $1 and then I had 2 BOGO coupons so they should have been .50 each. They gave me the original price for coupon, which is $3.49! I ended up making $3 on those!
Cherrios - B8 + $1 coupon + .50 cellfire coupon = Free!
Gerber yogurt - on sale for $1.99 and I had a $1.50 catalina = .49
Yo Baby yogurt- in the markdown area for $1.29 + $1 coupon = .29
Eggs - no mystery here, just on sale 2/$1
Warm Delights - B8 + $1 coupon = .49 
Fiber One bars - B8 + $1 coupon + .50 cellfire coupon = .49
Bugles - B8 + $1 coupon =. 49
Temptations cat treats - B8 + $1/2 coupon = .27 each
Chex Mix - B8 + $1 coupon + .50 cellfire coupon = Free!
Butter - on sale for $1.50 + $1 coupon = .50

So as you noticed, if you sign up to have coupons loaded on your card, you can use those along with a paper coupon on the same product. That was something I just recently found out about. You just have to watch and make sure that coupon gets deducted.

Junk and stuff

My husband usually has to make a comment when I tell him that I'm going out to garage sales, but I just let him. This last weekend he said, "What, are we running low on junk?" I know that although there is a lot of "junk" out there but I can usually find a jem here and there. My jem this last weekend was this...

It's a really beautiful painting (yes, it's a painting, not just a picture/print), very well framed and it's now proudly hanging on the wall that leads down to our basement. It was such a boring empty, lonely wall but now it's fancy. And it only cost me $30. I love my junk. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Star Wars are for girls only?

If you don't know about I highly recommend going over there and checking them out. I have been lucky enough to host a few houseparties and the free swag for you and your guests is awesome.

I recieved an e-mail from them yesterday about signing up to host a Star Wars Clone Wars Houseparty. I went through and filled in the application but something really bothered me. They asked how many kids I have and if I have boys or girls and then the age of the boy. Then all the questions ended up being about my boy...what tv shows/channels does he watch? What toys does he like to play with? etc etc. Obviously I had a hard time answering the questions because, well, Emmett isn't even 1 yet. At one point I was able to fill in a response (instead of just click a multiple choice answer) and I made a comment about how my nephew (who is 11) really likes Star Wars (as does my husband and I) and my daughter might enjoy it too. I even said, "Girls like Star Wars too!!"

I was a little purturbed that all they cared about was my son (how many of HIS friends would you invite?...the questions went on and on). I've watched the Clone Wars cartoons. My husband has enjoyed them and Nora might too (although her current fave is Strawberry Shortcake so that might be a stretch). And if my newphew could come, maybe he'd like to invite some of HIS friends.
 If they are basing their criteria on my own son, his age and his likes then I'm sure I won't get chosen. That sort of irks me. It's just like at McDonalds when they have two different happy meal toys and they ask if you want the girl toy or the boy toy. Sexism is alive and well today...even with little kids.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Catalina deals

Do you know what a catalina coupon is? It's the one that prints out, at the register, when you make your purchase. Sometimes they are random coupons but most of the time it's something that you probably purchased in the past (maybe even that day) and they are giving you a coupon for it for the next time. Other times, companies have promotions where you buy a certain number of their products and they will give you a catalina in a dollar amount (like cash...i.e. the Kraft deal I got in on last week).
One of the most annoying things to me is when the register catalina isn't working and I don't end up with any coupons. ARGH that drives me crazy. Last week the catalina wasn't working and I didn't get my Kraft $5 coupon. I mentioned it to the cashier and a manager came over and hand wrote my coupon for me (I used it today and it worked out fine).

Today, at King Soopers I used some catalina coupons that I recieved and matched them with some sale items. Here the deals I ended up with...

This week (and next) there is a P&G promotion where you get $4 off with the purchase of 4 select P&G products. That included diapers which I was happy to find a deal on. With the sale, the Pampers were $7.99 each (as were the wipes). I had recieved two $3 catalinas for cruisers diapers a while back. Hello high money coupon, how I love thee!! I also had another catalina that was for $4 off cruisers and 1 box (300 count or more) of wipes. So, you could say that I got an additional $3 off all my packages of diapers, making them $4.99 a PIECE! And then an additional $1 off the wipes. LOVE IT!
The Natural Instinct hair color (yes, I do it at home) was on sale for $5.99. I had a catalina for $5 off 2 boxes. That means they ended up being $3.49 a box. Not too shabby considering my roots are starting to show.
The Kleenex hand towels are something I'd probably NEVER buy normally (a little too snazzy for this simple girl) but I recieved a catalina for a free box! Of course I had to pick it up! It was the only item that would have been in my 50 cent or less post this week (besides some baby food and...well...that doesn't count) hence why I did this post.

The moral to the story. Don't just throw away those catalinas..and watch to make sure you get the ones you are supposed to recieve. Some of the coupons aren't the best but sometimes they grace you with something pretty outstanding so make sure you sort through them. :)

Carry on....