Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When life truly isn't fair

I've admittedly been pretty busy over the last week. Too busy to even check-in. Plus Mark is on vacation so I don't really like to sit and blog or really even play on the computer that much when he is off. So I've slacked on here, even when I had stuff to say, but today I'm making myself do it. I have a ton of errands to run and really need a shower but I'm getting this done before because if not I don't think I will.

I always lived by the mantra that 'life is fair if you make the best of it'. Basically if you sit around getting all depressed that things aren't turning out the way you wished they were or sit and covet what some other person has and wish it was you then of course life isn't going to seem fair. I could sit here and get all upset about how I don't have the ability to have babies whenever I feel like it. A new gymnastics friend has three kids 18 months apart and is trying for her fourth. I could never have that. Even though my infertility is an easy fix that still doesn't make it 'fair'. But I don't wallow in the self-pity of it. Where does that get me? It doesn't change the way things are. It just makes me mope around and be depressed and that's just not the way to live. Instead I take what I get and move on from it. Life is much more enjoyable when you have a more cheerful outlook.

But there are times...there are things that happen...that just anger me. Things that just plain aren't fair. I work with this woman who has two children that are around my age. She and I may not have always gotten along but in the seven years that I've worked with her I've come to respect her very much as a person. She is a very devoted mother and grandmother and she is an incredibly strong woman when it comes to practically everything in life. Well, her daughter who is 27 is sick. And not just have a flu and get over it sick, but leukemia sick. She's been fighting it off and on for 3ish years now. Hospital stays in Boston, stem-cell transplants, chemo and radiation. She has suffered through awful things while being away from her husband and two young daughters. For the past almost year she's been in remission and doing well. Her mother told me that they were making plans to go to New York and see a play. Then she started having bad pains and after a trip to the hospital and back down to Boston...the cancer is back. The cancer is back and in her bones and there really aren't any options left for her. Well there is a $10,000 experimental drug that they're waiting on insurance to approve but that is her last hope at this point. Otherwise this will likely be it for her.

It just all makes me sad, sad on so many levels. As a mother my heart breaks for her mother. I can't bare the thought of seeing my child go through that and die...completely helpless. My heart breaks for the girl who will be leaving her children. Leaving my kids in unfathomable to me. Then there are those two beautiful little girls who may lose their mother...the youngest who doesn't remember a time when her mother wasn't sick. It is truly not fair. There is no making the best of it or thinking more positively about it. It's just not fair. None of these people deserve this. There isn't one thing that any of them did so wrong to warrant this happening to them. I want so desperately to snap my fingers and make it all go away. To give them $10,000 that I don't have so that they can try that last drug. But I can't and I'm just helpless as everyone else is. I don't pray but I hope and I guess that's all I can do. I hope that for once life is fair for this girl and her family and that this horrible disease doesn't destroy their lives anymore. I hope because in a life that isn't always fair, sometimes it's the only option we have.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mom of the Year Award Goes to...not me!

Bianca does dance. She loves dance. I hated dance as a child, especially ballet so I never kept with it and stuck with gymnastics and later cheerleading. But when it came to deciding what activities I'd sign her up for dance was one of them. She has always liked to bop around to different songs ever since she was first able to. It just seemed like the thing to do. And it has gone so well and I'm loving it too now being on the other side of it. I'm glad to have found an activity that she loves and is getting so much out of.

So of course when her first season was over and there was mention of a dance camp for 3-6 year olds I thought it would be fun to sign her up for her first camp experience. I wasted no time in registering her and getting her all set. That was in May and the camp was in July. So we had a lot of waiting to do. Then all of a sudden it was July and for some reason I had it stuck in my head that it started on the 19th and ran for 4 days. The 19th is a Tuesday and even though that was sort of weird, I just though that's when it was. I went with it. Then yesterday I ran around picking up the last minute things she needed to be ready for her first day of camp...new ballet shoes, new tights, a towel, sunscreen, lunchbox stuff. She was so excited that she ran around in her new ballet shoes most of day. Then when I was double checking the flyer to make sure I had everything she needed I realized that it said the 18th-21st. Wait...Monday is the 18th, not Tuesday!!! Yep we missed her first day of camp. I was heart broken for her, shed some tears. I don't know whether to blame the lack of sleep I've been getting or just my general mindlessness. Bianca of course has no clue whatsoever which I'm thankful for. What makes it worse was that the dance teacher posted on facebook Sunday night that camp started and she'd see everyone in the morning....and I liked it. For some reason that didn't register in my head that by 'see you in the morning' she meant the next day. Yeah it's pretty obvious and normally I would have picked up on that and then got all frantic because I didn't have all the stuff I needed for her yet. But I think the sleep deprivation has gotten to me and the words just did not compute. So I failed.

I'm not even sure why it bothers me so much. Maybe because as her mother she depends on me to get her to things like this on time and when she's supposed to be. Maybe it's because as a kid my mother would do that sometimes and I'd miss out on stuff and would be upset about it. It's easy to blame our parents for our issues, but really I can't blame anyone but myself here. So yep no mother of the year award here.

But that makes today our first day of dance camp instead! Bianca was so excited she kept asking if it was time yet. I got her stuff all together and her all suited up and we made it on time and everything. I have no clue how it is going or how she will do. She can be a bit of a pill and headstrong so I can only imagine. Hopefully she isn't giving them too much trouble and is enjoying dancing and all the other stuff they have planned. It's weird being here without her. I am apart from her when I go to work, but I haven't been with just Bowen in the house for longer than maybe an hour at a time. He looked around for her a little bit when we first got home, but now is enjoying living it up and having run of the house and toys. Plus some private time with me.

all ready for dance camp...though refusing to look at the camera for me

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly check-in 7-17

The boy was so wonderful and woke me up at 5:45 am this morning. When you go to bed at 1 am the night before that is just not cool and I'm feeling a little out of it right now. But I'll come on here anyway and do my thing.

Breakfastvus Festivus

Since I had come upon the recipe I had been dying to try making Paula Deen's overnight french toast. I love french toast but I find the prospect of fan prying daunting and don't do it that often. So finding a recipe for french toast that sits in the fridge overnight and that you pop in the oven in the morning sounded awesome! Plus it's topped with this pecan praline type of mixture that just made it amazing! I'm going to have to quarter the recipe since even just halving it made more than me and two kids with stomachs the size of their fists can eat but it's worth a definite do again!

Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole

It is better than it looks...I promise!

Project Weight Loss Fail

Yep, total fail this week. I made the mistake of buying way too much deli meat this week and so I had to eat some for lunch. Not that huge of a diet ruiner but then we got Chinese for our 7th wedding anniversary (yay us!) which was yummy but that left me with two days of leftovers that I then ate for lunch. Plus I broke a couple of snacking rules on top of that. So is it really any big surprise that when I weighed in today I came up with...

Week 3 (7/17) 144 lbs

Yep gained 2 lbs! Gah!!! This week means getting back on my diet plan and keeping with that. On a workout positive though, I ran 25 minutes straight with Bowen twice! The first time I texted my bestie after and told her that I thought I was dying. Obviously I didn't but it made me not want to do it again. I did however and it wasn't nearly as bad. It gives me hope that if it doesn't rain like crazy tomorrow that I'll be able to do it again!

A Week In the Life

Kind of a boring week around here.

I took the kids to their first 3D movie...How to Train Your Dragon. Bowen would not keep the glasses on and Bianca did after a lot of persuading. It was only my second ever so I was pretty pumped and again it cost a whole $1.07 for the movie and popcorn! We ended up leaving 10 minutes early because Bowen had just had it at that point. We've seen the movie before about a million times and it's on the longer side so I'm not surprised. It was still a fun experience. The next 3D one is Megamind and I'm looking forward to that since we haven't seen it yet.

The only other thing worth mentioning was that July 15th marked my 7th year of marriage! I can't believe it's been 7 years already. It's insane how quickly time goes by. We did nothing exciting since we're saving and paying off debt. Just broke budget and splurged on Chinese food with the kiddos.

Oh and a final feeling old moment came to me last night at work when I realized that out of me, another shift supervisor, a cashier, a pharmacy tech, and the pharmacist...I was the oldest working in the store at that moment. I can remember when I was the front store baby. Yeah not anymore because I'm getting old.

Monday, July 11, 2011

So I actually swore that I wasn't going to go there. I was just going to skip over Casey Anthony and move on to other things because people have talked enough about it. There isn't anything that I'm going to say that hasn't already been said. Even my feelings about it are pretty moot at this point. It won't change anything.

Then I started watching this true crime show about the case of Baby Grace. There is some small amount of me that vaguely remembers reading something about it in passing but I don't remember details. I was pregnant with Bianca when it happened and barely pregnant with Bowen when it went to trial so I was otherwise occupied I guess. Either way if you don't know what it's about I'll just say that it involves a mother and step-father who beat a 2 year old girl to death...using a belt, throwing her across the room, and dragging her by the hair and holding her head under water. All to teach her a lesson so that she'd "behave" better. During this time the poor little girl looked up at her mother and said "I love you". They took her body, put it in a sterilite container, and after a couple of months brought it out to sea and dumped it. I was in tears watching the thing. It is completely unimaginable to me and I later hugged both my kids so tightly they were upset at me for invading their personal spaces.

Now this isn't like the Casey Anthony case at all. I mean this couple admitted to doing it and eventually were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. But it brought me back to Casey Anthony anyhow. I'm convinced she did it. There really is no doubt in my mind. I admit to being shocked that she was found 'not guilty'. I admit to even being a little angry about it and thinking of how dumb the jury was. I even agree with a friend of mine who said that 'if she were a guy she would have been found guilty'. I don't doubt that for a second. I mean no one wants to believe that a mother would kill her own child and when you put any doubt in their head then they going to go with what they want to believe is true...whether it is right or not. A jury had no problem of convicting Scott Peterson in what was pretty much a circumstantial case. I remember when that verdict was read I was actually a little surprised. I think he did it but I didn't think there was enough evidence proving that he did without a doubt. Yet I was angry with the Casey Anthony jury for doing what I thought should have been done with Scott Peterson. There was a doubt...which even though in my heart seems unreasonable...it still is a doubt.

I am vehemently against the death penalty because of the fact that an innocent person could be convicted and killed for something they didn't do. Look at the West Memphis Three case. I read books on that and watched documentaries. I have no doubt that they are innocent yet are sitting in jail...one on death row. So even though I see why there is doubt in the Casey Anthony case I still feel like she got off O.J. Simpson style and I'm still mad at a jury that I can't help but feel was incompetent. I guess that is why I wouldn't make a good juror. I let my personal feelings cloud my judgement way too often. I'm not saying it is a bad thing but there is no way I could have sat in that trial and heard that she didn't report her child missing for 31 days and hear all her lies and not automatically think that she did it. Maybe she didn't. Maybe it was an accident. Maybe she is just guilty of being a really shitty mother. Even so maybe that should be a crime. It's all over facebook about wanting to pass a law that makes it a crime not to report your child missing within a reasonable amount of time. I think that's fair. We are all our children have to protect them. When as a parent you can't stand up and make sure you do what it right for your child then you should be held accountable for your actions. Like in Baby Grace where the mother herself may not have done all the horrific torture but instead allowed it to happen. It was her job to protect her child above anything else. Because our children depend on us for that. When you choose to become a parent then that's what you sign up for. Putting the lives of someone else forever ahead of yours. I would give my life before I'd let someone hit my child with a belt let alone beat them to death. I freak when my child is out of my sight for more than 2 seconds let alone 31 days. Anything less is a crime and that without a doubt Casey Anthony is guilty of.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekly check-in

It has been a busy week. So busy that I haven't had time to even get on here and type about anything...at all. I had all these plans of talking about my 4th of July and Casey Anthony but it seems that time has totally gotten away from me. I had also planned to make every Sunday a check-in day because I love Sundays and there are a few things that I want to note progress on.


Sunday is my 'make an awesome breakfast' day. Let's face it, with chasing after two kids, working part time, and babysitting I don't often have time to make a nice warm breakfast for anyone of us let alone the kids. I decided a few months ago to make Sundays be the day that no matter what I make a breakfast that does not just consist of cereal and bananas. This morning I tackled for the third time...homemade cinnamon buns. The first time was a bust, second was an improvement but still not there, so I decided to go with a new recipe thanks to the awesome Paula Deen and try again. This time we had success! Of course by the time they were done they weren't so much breakfast as much as an after lunch dessert but now that I have a good recipe to follow they can officially enter the yummy breakfast recipe rotation. Kids are happy and they are totally worth ruining my diet over.

See ooey, gooey, and minus one since we couldn't wait to try them! Here is the recipe:

Paula Deen's Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Project Lose the Baby Weight

I find it very fitting to talk about weight loss after talking about cinnamon rolls. Haha. I've done okay with losing the baby weight after having Bowen, but I haven't really tried to either. With Bianca by the time she was a year old I had lost all the weight I gained doing nothing so I figured I'd go with that again. Well I'm older now, I gained a little more this time, and I'm stuck with 10 lbs that just did not want to go away. So I decided to get off my butt and do something about it. It helps that our health insurance now requires you to do healthy lifestyle changes in order to get a discount. You can pick anything from reducing stress to eating more fruit. I chose get fit and lose weight because I needed a motivator and not just something to lie about. I started with the Wii Fit and was just bored with it. Then my friends started the Couch to 5k program and I joined in. So mainly I'm doing that and I also have been doing the Insanity fit test once a week too which is just killer. I can't imagine doing that whole program...I think I might die if I did. I started off weighing in on the Wii Fit at 146. My goal is to get down to 135 and I'll be happy. That's less than pre-Bianca weight but not my high school weight and I'm okay with that. I don't expect to ever be that thin again. I'm turning 30 and I birthed two kids....135 is good enough for me!

I had been doing just the running for a few months and my weight went up and down. It was bumming me out so I bucked up and decided to do a diet change too. I have gone with the Yogurt diet in the past because I like Yogurt, it's filling, and it's healthy. So I stocked up on some Yoplait Whips with my coupons and started my diet of yogurt for breakfast, yogurt for lunch, and a regular dinner. I also throw in some fruit and veggies as snacks here and there and allow myself one unhealthy snack a day too. I want to lose weight and be healthy but I want to enjoy living too. I decided with this to weigh myself on the Wii Fit every Sunday and see how it goes. So with this diet and along with running here are my current stats...

Start at 146 lbs
Week 1 143 lbs
Week 2 (today) 142 lbs

I blame the 4th of July goodies for the only 1 lb loss this week but it's still a success in my book! 7 more lbs to go as the Wii so nicely tells me!

A Week In the Life

Finally let's go over the highlights of the week last week.

4th of July brought red, white, and blue pancakes, the Winslow parade with our friends the Csontos family followed by a BBQ lunch at their house, nap time in which it poured, quick run to the Fort Halifax where they were having the Winslow 4th celebration for pony rides and the petting zoo before getting rained on, BBQ ribs and beans for dinner, awesome homemade jello flag cake for desert, and finally a Bianca and Mumma night at the fireworks while the boys stayed home.

Got a brand new kitchen table since the other one was in poor shape. It was older than me and was my parents' so not surprising. Instead we got this awesome little nook with bench seating that is kind of restaurant style. Bianca now sits at the table to eat and Bowen has her little kiddy table. It is nice to sit around a functioning table and eat instead of hanging out in the living room with the TV on. Best purchase that I've made in a while...and it also brought us to Kmart's 50% off toys sale in which I got cheap moon dough and moon sand plus a couple of toys for the minions.

Wednesday took the kids to Camp Flagship which is free older kids movies. This week was Shrek Forever After. I snuck in drinks and the popcorn was only $1.07. Gotta love a trip to the movies for that cheap!

Thursday was our first beach day of the year! Yay!!! I took the kids to Damariscotta Lake State Park. This was Bowen's first time really being able to enjoy the beach and not just sit around the whole time. Of course that meant me chasing after him while trying to make sure Bianca didn't go too deep in the water. It was exhausting but fun and the start of many more beach days to come hopefully!

Friday is now gymnastics and shopping day. No spectacular deals this week in coupon land other than my yogurt being on sale and saving $1.20 in coupons on top of that. Crap! I just realized it's Sunday and the new coupons are out. I always forget to run and get a newspaper. Hopefully CVS won't let me down this week.

And that's it for the weekly check-in. Maybe if I'm not shuttling the kids around this week I'll post more and it won't be much of a check-in next Sunday. I still would love to vent about the Casey Anthony trial but I haven't quite formulated my thoughts totally on that yet. We'll see.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Not so extreme couponing

Reading my awesome friend Michelle's blog post about couponing today made me want to post my own. Here is the link to her blog. She's awesome and inspiring with her getting out of debt ways and living more affordably. It's worth the read.


Anyway, I'll admit it...I've turned into a couponer. Not extreme like on that TLC show. I'm against that on a variety of personal principles such as I will never buy things that I'd never use just because it's free. I also think some of these stockpilers are bordering on hoarders. I have a few things I hoard...like toothpaste and clearance laundry detergent. I did have a huge stockpile of clearance toilet paper too for a while. I am a huge clearance hound, but I have my limits. I am a bit snooty and have my certain products that I won't compromise on buying. Like I don't care what sale milk is on...I will only buy organic milk. I've also started to only buy organic cereal for the kids. It doesn't matter to me that I can get regular cereal practically for free. So even if I can get an awesome deal, I won't bother with it because I won't use it. The only exception to this is if it makes me money. Like if I can get two dollars back for buying fake eyelashes...I'll do it!

But I love a good deal. I love an awesome coupon deal even better. I have worked at CVS for way too long and have learned a lot about couponing from all the regular coupon crazies we see. I've started to work harder at using these skills towards my grocery shopping. It's hard when you're as particular as I am. I would do a lot better if I was more willing to buy stuff just because it's cheap. I guess that's why I say I'm 'not so extreme'. My other problem is that I'm on a very tight self-imposed grocery budget which doesn't always allow for a lot of stocking up on things. So even though my favorite BBQ sauce that we practically live on is on sale this week for almost half off, I don't have the extra cash in my budget to stock up on enough to make it last until it's on sale again. They say that an item typically goes on sale every 3 months. Sometimes sooner. In CVS land it's probably more like once a month, but we have way less product than a grocery store does. So in the case of the BBQ sauce, I'd have to buy about 6 bottles to get me through to when it's on sale again. At a dollar each it comes to $6. Now I know $6 doesn't sound like much, and I kind of feel silly even typing that I won't do it knowing that it will save me money in the long run, but when your budget it set up down to the dollar...it doesn't leave room.

Here are my basic coupon rules...

1. I will never clear out a shelf and I respect store and coupon limits
2. I will never buy something I don't need or wouldn't use just because it's free. I will however buy something I don't use or need if it it's a 'money maker'.
3. I will never split up my transaction in to 30 separate transactions. It holds up lines, isn't fair to other customers, and is annoying to cashiers. I will occasionally do two or three at CVS but I work there and my coworkers love me. I will also get out of line if there are people behind me. That is proper shopping etiquette.
4. I will never continuously stockpile items I do use just because they are free. Like at CVS we are pretty constantly giving toothpaste away free. I have probably 12 bottles of toothpaste in my toothpaste stockpile. I won't just keep buying and hoarding them and will wait until I get to a more normal amount before I start stockpiling again. Again money makers are the exception. I never pass those up.

So my own little rules kind of limit me in a sense but on occasion I can partake in an awesome deal and this week at Shaw's I got a couple of them that were just too good to pass up and possibly too good to not go back and do again. First Coke 12 pks are on sale for 5/$10. Awesome deal on it's own if you're a big soda drinker. On top of that there are coupons out in the Shaw's summer coupon book...two separate ones. One for $2 off and 2 coke products (not including coke itself) and a free 8 pk when you buy 3 coke products. Plus there is a secret catalina coupon (which are coupons you get back after you pay for the items) on Minute Maid 12 pks which are a coke product.

So just to lay out the math for you (not including deposit and tax)...

You buy 5 coke products. In my case 4 Minute Maid 12 pks and 1 Coke 12 pk. = $10
You use 2 of the $2 of 2 12 pk coupons. $10 - $4 = $6
Plus you get a free 8 pk of coke for using the free 8 pk coupon.
Then because I bought 4 Minute Maid 12 pks I get a coupon back for $3 off my next shopping trip. If you factor that into your savings I just spent $3 for 5 - 12 pks and 1 - 8 pk.

There is no limit to this deal but it's only a 4 day sale and you have to grab 2 coupon booklets for every set of 5 that you buy. I will probably go back today and do it again just because it's so cheap. Then maybe I can take my $3 coupon back and buy some of that BBQ sauce that I should stock up on.

My other awesome deal was actually a bit of a lucky one but worth mentioning. Shaw's was running a deal where if you buy 4 of General Mills Cereal or Yoplait Smoothies that you'll get a coupon back for a free gallon of milk. I planned to buy the smoothies since I don't buy that cereal and I also had $1 off coupons for them. They were on sale for 4/$10.

You buy 4 yoplait smoothies at 4/$10 = $10
You use 4 $1 off yoplait smoothie coupons $10 - $4 = $6
Then you get a coupon back for a free gallon of milk!

Now for me who spends $6 on a gallon of organic milk this is a good deal, though generally there is a price limit to the milk coupon. Not sure what it would have been this time since the ad didn't specify and it turned out different for me anyway which is a thing to learn when it comes to couponing. My store was out of the yoplait smoothies. You have two options depending on your store when this happens which is either get a raincheck or see if they'll substitute a like item. They offered to substitute these Jamba Juice smoothies for the same deal...taking my coupons and everything. But because they can't make the coupon for the milk print out they have to just markdown my milk to $0. This gave me my normally $6 milk for free when otherwise I might have had to pay $2 for it with this deal.

So after all that I got 4 jamba juice smoothies and 1 gallon of my $6 organic milk for $6! It is like I bought my milk that I buy weekly anyway and got the smoothies for free!

In the end I spent $48 for all the groceries I need for the week after savings, discount, and coupons (I saved a total of $56 not including the $3 coupon I got back for the soda). This doesn't include my meat which I buy at the meat market and a few of the fruits and veggies that I buy at the farm stand down the street. I typically spend a total of $30 for both of those. That gives me a weekly grocery total of $78 for my family of four which comes in at $15 below my budget. Not bad and it leaves me room to buy some more 12 pks and then maybe get some more BBQ sauce too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That's the art of the dress!

On a more positive note, I wanted to share my latest sewing creations for Bianca. Seeing as how she likes to only wear dresses these days and dresses cost more than I like to spend on clothes for the kids I have turned my diaper sewing skills to dress making. Now being a self-taught sewer of only just over a year I'm no where near perfect but they're for my 3 year old so perfection is not necessary. Plus they are super cute! I'm still playing around with making up different patterns but mostly I stick to the same style...just tweaking the fit a bit. Anyway here are two of the most recent dresses I have made because I just need to brag!

Mint Chocolate Zoo dress...note the boy being naughty in the background

David & Goliath Owl with embroidered owl on top...my machine has skills

And another one just because she's cute!