Saturday, January 31, 2009

I just went on this crazy thing called a DATE

I know you've probably been sitting there on the edges of your seats wishin' upon a start that I would write another post. I mean, man...I haven't posted since Thursday. Well, my lovely readers, I've been busy. Working, spending a day with my BFF and her boys, and today - going on a date with my hubby!

Can you believe that? A date. D-A-T-E. Pronounced "dayt." It involves going somewhere. Outside your house. Withoutyourchild.

So, we saw Taken. It's so friggin' good! Very suspenseful, very well done, just super good all the way around. It's definitely worth seeing in the theater. If you're considering taking in a flick this weekend with someone who is (unfortunately) not into chick flicks, go see this one.

On another note, I just finished my Tuesday's Tribute post, and I'm pretty excited about it, but you'll have to wait until Tuesday to read it. Neener, neener! And, just to keep you in suspense, I've got some other big news, but I haven't had time to post about it. And no, I'm not pregnant. That would be utterly insane. It's something else. So stay tuned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not diggin' this Duggar

As part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, I'm writing a letter to someone who bothers me.

Who is the lucky recipient of my letter, you ask?

In case you live under a rock, that's Michelle Duggar, wife to Jim Bob Duggar, mother to EIGHTEEN children, and I've been wanting to talk to her for quite some time now. I've finally been given the opportunity to share my thoughts with this famous baby mama (thank you, Mama Kat), so I'm hoping Michelle will take some time out of her busy (Get it? Busy? 18 kids? Busy? Never mind...) life to respond to my questions.

Dear Michelle,

Yo. Hey, first, I just want to tell you that I really appreciate you taking a short break from procreating in order to read my letter. I mean, I don't mean to crimp your style (that wasn't a hair joke - your hair is ........ lovely?), but to be honest, you bother me a little bit.

I'm concerned about you. You have 18 children. Were you aware of that? I mean, if you weren't aware of that I'm not blaming you or criticizing you or anything. I mean, shoot - I'd have lost track of them by now. I realize that back in the day, people had lots of kids. People who had 18 kids probably didn't even get a second glance when people walked past them on the cobblestone roads in their horse-drawn carriages - all 18 kids in tow.

Now it's not so common, and consequently, you've become quite an iconic family in America. People are fascinated by you. I mean, here you are - over 40, you're popping out babies left and right, and you haven't demanded that your husband get the old snippety snip yet. In fact, I've read that he says that the decision of whether to have more children is up to you since you're the one who has to carry them and labor through the births. Nice guy. He's considerate.

And you're a little bit of a crazy person. Again, not trying to criticize. I mean, shoot - I was a little bit of a crazy person after I had my first (and only, and will be the only for up to five years, thanks to a handy dandy little device called Mirena - you should really google that and maybe get one for yourself, dearie. On behalf of your hoo ha, I think you need to give it a rest for a while. Seriously.). But, it wasn't anything that a few anti-depressants (fondly known as ABP's at our house) couldn't handle.

You're a mom of many children, so surely you've heard of John and Kate Plus 8, Michelle, haven't you? Kate is real. She has 8 children, and she's not afraid to show that she's a little bit (a LOT bit) frazzled and a little bit crazy. She snaps at her husband and gets mad at her kids and loses her patience. She has less than half the amount of children than you have, lady, and half the time I think she's barely holding it together.

You, on the other hand, obviously love to shake, rattle, and roll, but it appears that you never get shaken or rattled - you act like you have it together all the time. Oh, and you know what? You pretty much freak me out with your constant smiling in public. I've never seen you lose your cool or act like you're stressed out. You just seem to have this weird alien-ish zoned out freaky smile thing going on.

Maybe you can just clear this up for me. I'm thinking one of two things is going on. Mind if I share my theories with you, Michelle?

One - you are not actually a human. You're...some type of robot woman, kind of like the one they made up on Weird Science, only after having 18 kids I'm sure your boobs aren't quite as perky. So, that's my first theory - you're an alien/robot/non-human lady.

Two - you are hooked up to a constant IV drip of Ativan, Xanax, Zoloft, or some combination of several anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medications. I don't even know if those things come in IV's, but if I were you, I think I'd demand an IV hook up. In fact, I'd demand that I have one of those buttons that I'm in control of, so I can get the drugs any time I need them, which - if I were you - would be ALL. THE. TIME.

So, allow me to get back to Kate of Jon and Kate Plus 8 for a minute. So, she's got 8 kids, but her and her husband make it a point to spend time with each of the children individually. I'm certainly not saying you don't love your kids. I don't doubt that you love them immensely, but don't they get lost in the shuffle?

You and Jim Bob decided it would be appropriate to announce to your 17 children that you were expecting #18 while you were on The Today Show. No pressure for them to put on a happy face about the news, eh? Anyway, posted a story about your appearance. Here's a direct quote from the story:

"With so many children, there is a sign-up list in the kitchen for children who feel they need one-on-one time with a parent."

I'm sorry. Did I misunderstand that? An effing sign-up list? This, lady, is why you bother me. What are you teaching your children?!? Does a 7-year-old really know what it means to sign his name on a list - scratch that - WAITING list with 17 other kids on it just so he can have some alone time with his mom or dad? Give me a break. So, your kids decide when they need to spend alone time with you, and not the other way around. Wow. Just WOW. The day you decided it was time for a sign-up sheet for one-on-one time was the day you probably should have busted out a Trojan.

Anyway, back to your kids. What do they think of having 80 bajillion sibs? It kind of seems like rather than having a house full of kids you have a house full of miniature parents raising each other.

Ay yi yi, Michelle. It sounds to me like some of your kids are missing out on their childhoods.

And speaking of what your kids think, your oldest son just got hitched. Good for him. I'm just taking a gander that he'll probably have a child or two (or eighty-six) of his own in the near future. What do you think he'll think if you keep having more babies?

In this day and age, when people's grandmas are having babies ON PURPOSE that's just a little, oh, I don't know - WEIRD?

I don't know, Michelle. What else can I say to you? You've already had people make jokes that your bajingo is not a clown car, people make fun of the fact that you dress your teenage daughters in the same plaid dresses as you, and your hair appears to be the nesting ground for a flock of geese, but you just don't seem to care.

Maybe I should be applauding you for all of those things. You just don't care, do you? You just want to keep having babies. And that's all well and good, except that maybe 18 is an appropriate number to say that enough is enough. Maybe it's time to give it a rest and do what other people your age are starting to - oh, I don't know - becoming grandparents, or oh - I don't know, having sex for reasons other than procreation? People DO that, Michelle. It's not just for baby makin'.

Honey, it's a natural part of life to eventually QUIT having babies and start watching your kids raise their OWN babies. Really. I'm not even lying. It's true. People do it. You should try it. Or, at least try this, or this, or this (Hey, it's a free sample! How can you pass that up?). Please?

Oh! Oh. I'll, uh, let you go. I think I hear Jim Bob calling for you. Something about he's got a Barry White CD and a onesie he picked out for the baby you're going to have in 9 months? Maybe I misunderstood him. Anyway, I'll be looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Sera (who thinks life with one baby is enough craziness for at least a couple more years)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teeny Tiny

My tiny little 5 lb. 12 oz. bundle turns 9 months old tomorrow, so today I reminisce. She was just 4 days old here. Oh, how I wish those days weren't such a blur...

Head on over to see Angie at 7 Clown Circus for more Wordful Wednesday posts from other bloggers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'll take a twisty-doo and a sprinkshmitz, please

It's time again for Tuesday's Tribute, which I've come to look forward to each week, just as I look forward to Mama Kat's Thursday Writer's Workshop. The point of Tuesday's Tribute is to focus on someone or something other than yourself. I know, it's crazy, and it's really difficult and sometimes painful to not talk about myself on my blog, but I enjoy a good challenge, so that's why I participate.

So, for the past three weeks, I've written my Tuesday's Tributes about Jen, my brother, and the unforgettable Dr. K. All people I have actually MET. So, it's time to switch things up a bit.

This week, I'd like to introduce you to Brian Regan - someone I've never met, and also one of my favorite funny guys.

Maybe you already know about him and think he's hilarious. If not, then hopefully you'll get a good laugh and become a fan today. Humor is the meat and potatoes of my blog, so today, you'll get a little humor from someone other than me.

This is the kind of stuff he says...

On being stupid...

" I would have been a lot better off if I’d studied more when I was growing up, y’know. But you know where it all went wrong was the day they started the spelling bee. Because up until that day I was an idiot, but nobody else knew."

On saying stupid things...

"You know when you say something but you want to change in the middle? Like one time I was about to say 'take care' but changed in the middle to 'good luck' so it sounded like TAKE LUCK.. If you have any luck take care of it. Take luck you now. SHUT UP!"

On first class...

"So when you do get on, the first class people are already sitting there; they're all sprawled out on their big thrones. "Bring me the head of a pig! And a goblet of something cool and refreshing! Anyone have a fiddle? Amuse me."

The Donut Lady is one of my favorite Brian Regan routines, so I'm hoping it gives you a chuckle.

Oh, and one more thing. Summer over at Le Musings of Moi is doing a sweet giveaway as a thank you to her blog followers. You definitely need to head on over and check her out.

Tuesday's Tribute
A Jay and Deb Production.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's (not so) critical

One of the reasons I love kids so much is that that are hilarious. Plain and simple.

Dennis and I work with a group of kids each Sunday in church ranging from about age 5 or 6 to age 10 or so. Today, we were talking about India because some people from our church are there right now doing some medical clinics.

So, the guy who came in to speak to the kids starts asking them about India.

"Tell me what you know about India."

A few of the responses included things like -

"They don't have money and they eat crusty bread."

"They don't know about Jesus and they drink dirty water."

Fairly reasonable responses, right?

Then he starts to talk about glasses because a big part of the trip to India was to provide eyeglasses to people who can't afford them. He began to explain why it is so essential to be able to see well in order to do important tasks.

Figuring that all the kids could relate to a question about moms, he tries to explain why it is so important that moms be able to see well . He says, "What is the most critical thing that moms need to do?" (the answer he was looking for was giving their babies medicine - they need to see well in order to read the bottle and give them correct amount...anyway...)

One girl pipes up with this clever (and absolutely, positively ridiculous) answer:


For real? Cleaning? You think that's the most critical thing a mother has to do?

More critical than wiping crap off your butt, oh - I don't know - feeding you, encouraging you not to play in traffic, making sure you don't stick something in a light socket, teaching you your ABC's and 1,2,3's, helping you learn right from wrong, or taking you to the doctor when you're sick?

Those, kid - THOSE are critical things that moms have to do. Cleaning? Ha! That's actually quite a funny concept. In fact, in order for me to really, actually clean my house a couple days ago, it was absolutely necessary for me to drop my child off with her grandma for the ENTIRE day.

(Click here to read about my crazy, fun cleaning day, and click here for before and after pictures.)

That cannot happen every day. Grandmas work. And babysitters cost money. So, no - little girl. Cleaning is NOT critical.

And you can't come back to children's church next week because, well - because you just don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Takin' care of business

So, I got a crapload of cleaning done today, and - as is evidenced in the background of one of the photos I'll be sharing with you soon- I also managed to watch Grey's Anatomy from last night. Ho. Lee. Cow. Tear-jerker.

I'm so glad Dennis wasn't home - I'm sure he just would have shaken his head at me and thought I was a crazy woman for getting all teary over a fictitious show.

Let me just tell you - it was a fabulous day. I pretty much power cleaned like a mad woman, never adding more than 3 things to my to-do list at a time, and crossing each one off with alternating blue and yellow highlighters as I went along. I will be sharing a picture of my pretty little list with you when I get around to posting the others from my day.

So, I conquered the kitchen, living room, dining room, and part of the master bedroom. I lost track of how many loads of laundry and dishes I did. Anyway, it feels good. My house feels bigger and I didn't realize we had so much floor. Wow.

I've still got a fair amount of organizing to do so that things don't get so out of hand again, but at least for now, things are picked up and are put in bins or boxes, out of site, until I can figure out the best way to store stuff.

It's amazing how a clean(er) house makes you feel more peaceful and relaxed.

I just figured out the self-timer on my camera today, and I couldn't get a picture of me and the apron that didn't make me want to jab my eyes out with a sharp object (actually, to be honest - that's an exaggeration...none of the pictures wanted to make me jab my eyes out - I just wanted to be dramatic) so once I manage to get a pic that I'm semi okay with, I'll be sure to share it with you as well.

Can I also just say that it was really nice to have a day to myself? It was refreshing and even somewhat rejuvenating. By the time Dennis and I went to pick up Kaylee, we were literally racing to the front door of my Mom and Dad's house to see who could get to her first. (He is bigger and stronger than me, so he won).

I was so excited to see my little peanut! And she had a wonderful day playing with her grandparents. It was good for both of us.

Well, as much as I would love to stay and chat, I have the honor and privilege of going to work tomorrow - on a Saturday - (it's really not that bad - I just like to moan and groan about it at every chance I get because I really would much rather be home with my little familia), and so it's time to go read my Twilight book and then pay a visit to Mr. Sandman.

I'll post pictures of the day as soon as I can.

Possibly tomorrow.

If you're lucky.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh, what ever will I do?


Guess what?!?!

Tommorrow my mom is taking the day off work and watching Kaylee for me so I can have a chance to watch the episodes of Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy that I DVR'd tonight.

Wait, scratch that! I did not just say that!

She's watching Kaylee so I can get some stuff DONE around here tomorrow. Like the laundry, the dishes, blah, blah, blah. Plus, she needs some Kaylee time, and I had a helluva day yesterday, so it's really a win-win situation.

I'll be sporting my brand new, very first apron, just so I feel all domestic-like. Ha ha ha. I might even take a picture of it so you can see how sweet it is. My BFF found it hiding behind some other ridiculously ugly aprons at Ross, and I scored it for something crazy like 6 bucks. It's awesome. You're going to be jealous.

So, anyway, head on over here at some point on Friday so you can find out what I really did with my time.

Only time will tell...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It brings me such joy

Joy-ous: [joi-uhs]
joyful; happy; jubilant

When you become a mom, you discover that joy is found in places you never expected it to be found.

Joy is realizing that wretched smell was actually just a baby fart and not a fully loaded diaper.

Joy is getting to the store and realizing that the cheapest formula on the shelf also happens to have a THREE DOLLAR COUPON attached to it.

Joy is finally getting more than 4 hours of sleep. Consecutively.

Joy is realizing that you made it out of Wal-Mart and your baby is miraculously still wearing both of those sparkly, pink Mary Janes.

I'm not even exaggerating, people. Each and every one of these things makes me joyful, happy, and jubilant, just as the definition states.

There are countless things that will bring you joy when you become a mother, but you need to remember that you're not JUST a mom. There are many other elements to who you are, so you really need to focus on finding joy in other non-mommy/baby related things.

This tasty little morsel of goodness is the joyous moment I'm choosing to share with you. I can make this sucker last through about 5 bites. I enjoy it wholeheartedly - every gooey, chocolately, sticky, delectable, sweet bite. I don't always have these in the house, so when they are on hand, I eat them sparingly, saving them for the most important times.

Today is definitely one of those "most important times."

After a morning of 2.5 hours of non-stop, I repeat - NON-STOP crying from Mini Me, 3 poopy diapers before noon (this has become a trend since the introduction of solid foods), a measly 25-minute morning nap, a non-existent afternoon nap, a can of formula exploding all over my hair and my shirt as I opened it for the first time (funny as heck now that I think about it - it was like a snowstorm of formula in my kitchen, but definitely NOT funny when it happened...), NO real lunch (aside from a couple handfuls of Chex Mix and a few stolen Blueberry Gerber Puffs from the baby's high chair tray), a kitchen that somehow managed to get messier instead of cleaner, 6 loads of laundry that never got done, and the shower that I never got to take...I need a little bit of caramel-filled chocolate joy comin' my way.

And if you so much as touch my little piece of joy in a golden wrapper, You. Will. Pay.

This post is a part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. This week's prompt: write about a joyous moment. Head on over to Mama's Losin' It to read more from other awesome bloggers. I'm jumping the gun a few hours early, so if the links to the other posts aren't up yet, go back later, okay? Okay.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Big 3-0!

Check it out!

Katie from Because Katie Says So! is my 30th follower! I was really hoping for another one soon so I would be at an even 30 instead of that uneven 29. (Dang OCD tendencies popping through again - I like EVEN numbers, people! EVEN!) I was *this* close, and now I'm there - woo wee!!!

Seriously. I'm such a nerd. I get so stinkin' excited when I get a new follower. Makes me feel special, like you people actually care what I have to say.

So, go pay Katie a visit right now. She's hilarious, and her blog is a lot of fun. If my memory is serving me correctly, I think she was even featured as a Saucy Blog not long ago.

Thanks, Katie - you rock!

Ok, it's past my bedtime, so I'll be back tomorrow with something. Not sure what yet, but I'll think of something. I'm planning to stay home with Kaylee, perhaps get a few things tidied up around here (what a joke, right?), and maybe go for a little walkabout in the neighborhood, if I can overcome my fear of stray dogs.

Maybe that's what I'll write about tomorrow - my dog's a thought..

Nighty, night, my fabulous readers!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Tribute to Dr. K

Ahhhh, the unforgettable Dr. K. The man I will remember the rest of my life with a fondness that cannot be put into words.

My lifesaver.

My deliverer.

My hero.

Approximately 8.5 months ago this amazing and wonderful doctor waltzed into my labor room wearing shorts, tennis shoes and a button up shirt. My husband about knocked him through the wall, thinking some strange man busted in during a rather inopportune, not to mention private time.

But then, he realized that I would knock him through a wall if he so much as laid a hand on this fabulous man that I had been waiting for and dreaming about for 9 long months.

I remember Dr. K telling me it would be about 10 minutes before I felt any relief from this magic thing they call an epidural.

He lied.

The relief was instant.

I wholeheartedly uttered the words, "I love you."

He replied rather matter-of-factly... "Yeah, I get that a lot."

I bet you do, you freakin' awesome stinkin' doctor!

Thank you for responding to my request for drugs in 15 minutes or less. You are a very, very smart man, and I assure you that I will never, ever forget you. E-V-E-R.

Head on over to Jay's and Deb's blogs for more Tuesday's Tribute posts from other bloggers.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I'm just bein' real with ya, people...

So, today you have the privilege of learning more about little ol' moi. Aren't you just so excited? Well, you should be!

One of my best blogging buddies, Jenners, over at Life with a Little One and More, gave me an award for my blog, and it really meant a lot to me. Why? It's the Honest Scrap award, which is given for writing with honesty in your blog.

It meant so much to me because that's what I want my blog to be about. Honesty. Honesty about how I'm really handling the challenges of motherhood, and the challenges of life in general. I see no sense in pretending that things are easy all the time, and I see no sense in pretending that I'm June Cleaver or Mrs. Brady. And you shouldn't either. That's why I write what I write.

All of us struggle, and we just need to be real about it. It makes us feel a little better and a little bit more not-so-crazy when we know there are other women out there struggling with the same things.

Shall we get on with it already?

Here is my fabulous award:

Now, with this award comes the stipulation that I share 10 honest things with you about myself, so here goes.

1. I am a Girly Girl. I'll admit. I love all things girly. Fancy dresses, cute shoes, pink stuff, makeup, jewelry (oh, how I miss my dangly earrings since having a baby!) - all of that stuff. I love to get all dolled up (can't remember the last time that actually happened, though...), and I love things that are just cute and feminine.

2. I am pretty much NEVER on time for anything. I'm late to just about anything you can think of, and it drives my husband nuts, the poor guy. You name it, I'm late to it - church, work, family gatherings, appointments. It's one of my (many) weaknesses.

3. I may be a social worker, but I'm not a bleeding heart - in fact, I think I'm a bit cynical. I've seen all kinds of things in my line of work - moms who do meth on their way to the hospital to deliver their babies, people who see little green men crawling on the wall, people actively withdrawing from alcohol and/or drugs who think they are in 1974 in a helicopter, and families that have been torn apart by things like alcoholism or various kinds of abuse. I'm not one of those social workers who is like, "Oh, they will change. Let's just give them another chance." You abused your child, and you want me to feel sorry for you? No. You made your bed - you can lie in it, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you never hurt your baby again. Your family won't talk to you because you've been drinking for 35 years, violated their trust, broken their hearts and used them in every way shape and form, and now you want me to convince your mother to take you under her wings because you've got nowhere else to go? I'm sorry. I can't fix 35 years worth of your mistakes - you're on your own. You're tired of crack ruining your life and you want me to sit here and convince you of all the reasons why rehab might be a good choice for you? I'm sorry, but if you don't want to change, I'm not going to sit here and try to convince you of all the reasons why you should. I may come across as cold, but I assure you that I'm not. I love my job, and I love to help people that want to be helped. And I love to advocate for people who are unable to do it for themselves.

4. I've got some OCD tendencies (admit it - you do, too!). It's not like I've gotta flick the light switch on and off 7 times before I leave the room - we haven't progressed to that just yet. It's a bit more simple, but it's still there. For instance, if I've got bulk items in my pantry (juice, granola bars, cake mixes, etc.), they all need to be lined up *just so* and they've got to be facing the same direction - labels facing forward, not off to the side. I also love lists (mostly "to-do" lists), and if I do something that's not on the list, I'll write it on the list, just so I can cross it off. If I misspell something on the list, I'll crumple it up and make a whole new list because God forbid I have a list with a word that is crossed off before the task is actually completed.

5. We eat cereal for dinner around here quite often. Thanks to The Crockpot Lady and her 365 days of crock pot recipes, hopefully this will be changing in the near future.

6. I'm pretty disorganized. This is one of the things that frustrates me most about myself. I can be organized. I have great ideas in my head about how to make things all neat and tidy, but actually putting those ideas into action is a whole nother story. I think my disorganization is part of the reason my house is such a wreck so often - because there are so many things in my house that don't have a "place." So, I'm working on that, too. Creating a place for everything and making our home a more organized and enjoyable place to be.

7. I am stubborn as a mule.

8. I sometimes (my husband would probably say "a lot" of times) over react or take things way too personal.

9. I tend to use way more words than I really need to when I'm trying to say something. The theme song my parents had for me as a child was, "You Talk Too Much" by the legendary rocker, George Thorogood. Hey, I'm a woman. It's what we do. Right?

10. Super Mario Bros. 3 brings out the worst in me.

When my husband and I were newly married, we played this game one time. I had played it throughout my childhood, and I assure you that back then, I was completely appropriate during game time. I guess I became an adult and some switch flipped inside. Suddenly, I transformed from sweet little wife into a sailor. "Stupid effing Mario! Get down that *^%! tunnel. You did NOT just kill me, you @$#% Koopa!" It was ugly. My dream of teaching my child to play the classic video game was no more. I realized it would not. be. good. for me to play such a video game with my child.

So, there you have it. 10 honest things about me. And, like Jenners, I feel like my blog is the place where blog awards go to die. I'm just not into the whole "pass this award on to 85 people thing." I don't mean to be selfish, it's just too email-chain-lettery for me...So, I guess that makes 11 honest things about me.

11. I'm a selfish blog award recipient.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How I support my shopping habit without spending a dime

There's something you don't know about me.

I get a ton of stuff from CVS (major pharmacy/drug store, in case you didn't know) all the time and I never pay for it. My husband says I steal from them all the time. So, now instead of asking how much I paid for something when I get home from a CVS run, he's like, "So, what did you steal today, honey?"

In the future, I'll have more posts about my love of coupons and good deals, and I'll tell you all about how a couple months ago I literally spent $27 (yes, twenty seven) dollars on groceries for an entire month.

But, for now - I shall tell you about one of my favorite stores, and I how I manage to steal from them all the time and haven't ended up in handcuffs in the back of a cop car just yet.

So...CVS has this sweet thing called Extra Care Bucks (known from here on out as ECB's), and ECB's are WAY cooler than sliced bread. If you don't know about ECB's and they are not a part of your life yet, you are seriously missing out, and you need to flick yourself on the side of the head for being such a cotton headed ninny muggins. Go ahead. Flick yourself real quick. I'll wait.


So, ECB's print out at the end of your receipt on certain products, and you can find the products that generate ECB's by reading the weekly and monthly CVS ads. Not hard.

Before we begin, let me tell you before I'll need a CVS card. It's free, and it's like those shopping cards you get at the grocery store to get the good deals. So, anyway, head to the counter and ask for a CVS card, or you won't get the sale prices.

Alright, now let's get down to the nitty gritty. Let's say you want to buy a new lip gloss and it's on sale for $5.99 and you get $3.99 back in ECBs (which you will know after reading the ad, right?). So, you plan to fork out $5.99, but lo and behold! You have a coupon for $2 off this exact lip gloss. My lucky stars! So, you give them your coupon for 2 bucks off and they tell you that your total is $3.99. You pay them $3.99 and then get $3.99 back in ECBs. It's like an instant refund.

You're going to have to spend money initially, unless you happen to need drugs and have a prescription transfer coupon. I had a new prescription, and I had a CVS coupon (found in a weekly ad - they do it every so often) for a $25 gift card if I transferred a new prescription to their pharmacy. So, I took some of that money and bought my first CVS products.

The sweet thing about ECBs is that nearly every week they have things that are free after ECBs, which means they'll sell it for a price like $2.99 and give you $2.99 back in ECB's.

Right now I've got about $21 of ECB's (they don't expire for one month, by the way). So, within the next week or two I'll be making another CVS run.

Last time I went to CVS I came home with 5 Listerine mouthwashes, 2 L'oreal lip glosses and a Sally Hansen nail polish, and all I had to pay was tax, so just a few cents, really, and I'm just using the remaining balance on my gift card, so that will last me a long time.

Not only did I get all those things for free, but by combining my coupons with the ECB deals, I generated the same amount of ECB's that I spent. So, I'm supporting my CVS habit and not dipping into our slim monthly budget.

We no longer pay for things like toothbrushes, razors, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, nail polish, fun cosmetics, feminine products, and basic health and hygiene items. And we all know those can add up super quick!

I love, love, LOVE to shop and CVS lets me shop (often getting fun things like 2 new lip glosses a month that I could never justify otherwise) without actually paying for anything.

So, maybe it's not technically stealing, but we call it stealing at our house just because it's fun to pretend, I guess. (We're weird. I know this!)

Now, I realize this post was rather boring and a heck of a lot more technical than any other post I've written, but I wrote it with the intention of being instructional and helpful.

Go check out to learn more about how you can have a blast shopping at CVS for free. If you've got questions about what I said above (it was rather complicated), please email me! I love sharing good deals and helping people save money! It's

Also, if you STILL haven't gone over to check out Mama Kat, you need to do that. Right now. Stop what you're doing, do yourself a favor, and go on over there. This post is a part of her Writer's Workshop Thursdays, which is something I look forward to every week. (She gives bloggers several prompts to choose from, and this week I chose to write about a time I stole something). Mama Kat is a total riot, and she makes me crack up DAILY. She's a phenomenal writer, and an incredible mama. Please go check out her blog. You'll be glad you did.

(And if you look at silly things like the times on blog posts, NO. I did not write this post at midnight. I am not a crazy person. Midnight is for sleeping, people. Blogger has a sweet feature where you can schedule posts for the future. Click on post options and you can pick the date and time you want the post to go up, and Blogger posts it for you. And don't mention it - you're welcome for the tip.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The three and a half hour blog post and a week of blogging milestones

So, my post about trying to make my brother eat dog poop? Took me 3 and a half hours. Not because it took me that long to think of what to write. No - because a certain somebody...

...has been fighting a nap all morning long. She falls asleep, I put her down, she screams, and the cycle repeats repeatedly. Plus, we had breakfast, played, changed 3 poopy diapers (and it's only 10:35 a.m.) and I managed to get a shower - although I'm still in my fluffy pink robe.

So, if you've been wondering why I've been a little absent from my blog (and it's redesign), it's because I've been working a lot, and when I've been home I just haven't had much time to get on the computer. So that's that.

Anyway, this past week I hit some sweet blogging milestones! First, April over at The Life of Me Plus Three bestowed upon me my very first bloggy award. Woo hoo! Thanks April!

And! Hold on to your hats! I won my first blog giveaway! Sassy Stephanie over at Our Piece of Quiet had a giveaway for this book, and I won! Neener, neener. Thank you, Stephanie!

She didn't explain what it was about, but apparently she couldn't put it down, so I'm thrilled to read it for myself and discover what mystery awaits within its pages. I'll let you know what I think after I read it.

Anyway, I gotta go. My screaming child and her hidden tooth #3 are calling for me.

T minus 3 hours until my BFF gets here and we have an afternoon WITHOUT KIDS. And just 30 more minutes until the babe's next dose of Tylenol is due.


I almost convinced him to eat dog poop

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I suck, and I mean suck at goodbyes. I get all teary and my nose gets all stuffed up and my makeup runs and I just look like a blubbering idiot. I hate goodbyes - I have never, and will never be good at them. In fact, I'd like to kick goodbyes square in the arse.

I wish I could take goodbyes and shove them inside a football. Then I'd find someone to kneel on the ground, hold the football up straight, and then I'd take a running start at that dang football of goodbyes and kick the crap out of it, just like a kicker in the NFL.

My little brother (and by little, I mean the kid towers over me and is a super lean baseball playin' machine - saying the word "little" is just my way of making me feel not so old) went back to college yesterday. Out of the state. Far, far away. (So, it's only an's still far away, people.)

My mom, Kaylee and I went out to breakfast with him at a quaint little mom and pop hole-in-wall breakfast joint that has the best cinnamon rolls this side of the Mississipi. We stuffed our faces, laughed at the baby, and had a darn good time. But I know that we were all dreading the end of breakfast because we'd have to say goodbye.

Let me just get this out of the way and tell you straight up that my little brother kicks ass. He's so stinkin' awesome. In all honesty, you should probably be jealous that he's not your brother. And no, I will not share him. He is my brother.

When we were kids we had our share of tiffs and fights. And, one time he was *this* close to eating a dog turd in our back yard because I convinced him that it was actually just a huge tootsie roll. I think one of my parents must have intervened at that point. I'm not really sure. All I know is that no turds were consumed that day.

Somewhere along the line, he lost the little blond curls, he quit playing with Tonka trucks, and he eventually quit wearing his bright red Mighty Morphing Power Rangers costume 24/7.

Looking back, it seems like I all did was blink and suddenly he'd traded the Tonka trucks for a catcher's mitt (did I mention the kid is a scholar athlete?), started growing facial hair, hit the weights, and managed to find one of the most beautiful, witty, giving and kind girls I've ever met, and she can handle his sarcastic humor and constant teasing. She just dishes it right back at him.

We still give each other loads of crap (although now it's figuratively speaking, and not in a, "Hey eat this because it's really a tootsie roll - I promise!" sort of way) because that's just that way we are. But, our relationship is much different than when we were kids. We can talk about stuff like politics, stupid professors, and some of our toughest struggles. Because we're both grown ups now.

I was a proud big sister on the day we brought you home...

And I'm a proud big sister right now. More than you could ever know. I love you.

This post is a part of Tuesday's Tribute. Click below to read more Tuesday's Tribute posts from other bloggers.

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What my husband really thinks of me

So, just in case you were ever curious what my husband really thinks of me (let's be honest here - you and I both know that you probably wonder about that - oh, at least 12 times a day, right?) - well, now you've got your answer.

These, my friends, are the six words he uses to describe me. And I've got to be honest with you - I couldn't have picked six more accurate words myself. Truly.

(Ok, so I only would have picked #1, #3, and #6, but that's beside the point...)

1. hilarious
2. beautiful
3. loving
4. generous
5. adorable
6. retarded

Last night I told him I needed him to help me with my blog post for Mama Kat's Thursday Writer's Workshop, and he patiently obliged. I asked him to think of six words that described me. The assignment is to have a loved one describe you in six words and then write about just how well you think they really know you, based on how they described you. I asked him to email me whatever he came up with so I wouldn't have to remember it.

So, within a matter of minutes after making my request, I get a new email. The subject line is something to the effect of "Here's your damn list." Heh, heh, heh.

Allow me to elaborate on what I think of the above list. Let's take it from the top...

#1 : Hilarious. I've got to agree with him on this one. I'm one of those nerds that laughs at myself often. I'm not talking like, "Oh, you need to be able to laugh at your mistakes. Ha, ha, ha." No. I'm talking, I do goofy crap even when it's just me, just because I think it's funny. Take this for example: No one else is in the house but me. I'm in the kitchen, probably looking for food or something, and all of a sudden Beyonce's voice comes booming through the speakers in my living room. Heck YES I bust a move in the middle of the kitchen! I might even sing along and make funny facial expressions as if I myself were Beyonce. Why? Because I'm hilarious. That's why. Dennis probably thinks I'm hilarious because I make him laugh all the dang time. However, I think I make him laugh all dang time because I am #6.

#2 : Beautiful. Awwww. I may not always feel like it myself, but he's always giving me the best compliments. Like this one: "I think you look really pretty without your makeup." Now, if I over think that one too much it might cause me to think something irrational like, "Hmmm, I wonder if that means I look like a dirty pirate hooker (Will Ferrell, Anchorman, people - come on) with my makeup on. Maybe he's trying to tell me something..." But, that would be stupid to think that. Honestly, it's one of my favorite things to hear because I often have to stifle screams in the morning when I get that first look in the mirror after just waking up and having no makeup on.

#3 : Loving. Yep, that's true. Sure, I've got people in my life who irritate the living daylights out of me (those are the people who inspire me to repeat "I love you, but I don't have to LIKE you" over and over in my head), but I'd definitely say that I'm a really loving person. Good call, Dennis. Good call.

#4 : Generous. This one stumps me a bit. In fact, I'm not sure why he picked this word. For instance, I am not generous enough to give him the first bite of pizza (the first bite is the best bite, and it was never meant to be shared). I am not generous enough to let him have my dessert, unless it's a ginormous restaurant dessert that we decide ahead of time to split. I think I scare him sometimes when he messes with my food. You need to understand that I savor my food and enjoy every single bite. I can get a good 6 bites out of a Ghirardelli caramel chocolate square. So, if he so much as takes a little bite out of something I'm really excited to eat, I (pardon my French) go ape shit. Hmmm, what else...I am most definitely not generous with the covers. And, I'm a social worker, so I'm certainly not generous in an Oprah Winfrey give-away-a-freakin'-car-to-everyone-in-the-audience kind of way because us social workers don't exactly blow our noses in hundred dollar bills, if you know what I mean. (If you don't know what I mean, go rent Dumb and Dumber).

#5 : Adorable. Ok, I'll take that one. That one's a nice one. But on second thought, #5 could also be linked to #6.

#6 : Retarded. If you knew me in real life, you'd know that I mean no harm or disrespect in using this word. But, since the majority of you don't know me in real life, I just needed to get that out. This is a little ongoing joke that Dennis and I have. I think I've always been a bit retarded (I am a natural blond), but it got progressively worse when I got knocked up. I truly believe the reason my baby is a miniature genius is because every smart brain cell she now has used to take up residence inside my head. But, while she was in utero, she must have used her crazy fetus powers to teleport all my smart cells into my uterus so she could steal them for herself. Selfish little turd. But it doesn't stop there. Pretty much all the moms I've talked to about this are in agreement that the birth canal is the emergency exit for any smart brain cells that remain after the baby steals the first ones from you during your pregnancy. So, I'm doomed. I now say retarded things like, "Do you hear that smell?" and "When your mom I went to the shoe sleep chicken." Crazy combinations of words come out of my mouth sometimes. They make NO sense at all, and even as I utter the crazy words I myself am stumped as to how I am uttering such strange things. I have no control over it. It's as if some connection in my brain got zapped the very moment I opened my mouth. So, when he says I'm retarded, it's true. I am. But I'm okay with it.

So there you have it. That's me. Retarded, loving, beautiful, generous, adorable little old me...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - Supermom and Photographer Extraordinaire

Meet Jen.

She's a wife, a mom to 4 (and one on the way!), an incredible photographer, a fellow blogger, and truly one of the sweetest, funniest, and most "real" people I've ever met.

I met Jen a few years back, and to my dismay, she and her family moved to Utah not long after we met, so we didn't get to hang out as much as I wish we could have. I tried to read her family blog during that time, and I loved looking at her photography blog, too, wishing that she would be somewhere nearby when I had my first child so she could take our first family portraits.

Her photography skills are to die for. She's absolutely amazing, and she's totally self-taught. You better clear a spot on the floor for your jaw when it drops after seeing her mad skills. Click here to see for yourself. If you are in Utah, you really need to look her up. I'm not kidding. You seriously need to look her up.

This lady wears many hats, but she wears them so well. She's not one of those people that always plasters a smile on her face and acts like everything is perfect all the time. Her blog is candid and very eloquently written. Her humor shines through, as well as her dedication to her faith and her family.

She's got an incredibly generous and selfless spirit, and I really wish she lived closer to me so we could overindulge on chocolate together and let our kids run wild while we sit and chat, oblivious to it all. And, I would also pick her brain all the live long day about how she does what she does because she truly is an amazing woman.

Jen, you rock, and I am so lucky to call you my friend.

This post is part of a new feature over at Halftime Lessons called Tuesday's Tribute.

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Armageddon is nowhere in sight, and a reflection on the newborn days

So, remember when I told you Kaylee's new sleeping habits may just be a hint that Armageddon was coming? Well, now I know that it most definitely is NOT.

We had two good nights.

The first night she slept for 9 hours and 45 minutes. Night # 2 was about 8 hours or so. And, last night we were back to the midnight wakeup call.

And wouldn't you know - each night she slept so well I went to bed by 9 to prepare myself in case she woke up multiple times. And she didn't. Last night I stayed up until the absolutely insane hour of 11 o'clock (oh, dear me!). I had trouble falling asleep, and just as I was dozing off at approximately 11:49, she starts crying.

I gave her a couple minutes because sometimes she just cries for a short bit and then goes back down. Not last night.

So, as I logged more rocking miles on the glider, I reminisced back to Kaylee's newborn days. I really struggled a lot then, and suddenly I recalled a conversation that I had with my mom.

Sleep was not a regular part of my life at that point, and it was really taking a toll on me. I was experiencing a fair amount of mommy guilt as well, and I felt the need to share it with my mom. At the time, I felt I was taking a risk by admitting my true struggle to her.

I remember telling her, "Mom, I feel so bad because I'd rather keep sleeping than get up to comfort Kaylee."

Man, I felt like an ass. I was so selfish, right? Wanting to sleep, wanting to put my needs above my child's, playing the tug of war between my pillow and the sweet babe in the Pack 'N Play at the end of my bed. I was seriously afraid my mom would think I was a bad mom (well, I know she wouldn't think that of me, but it's how I thought at the time).

Now I think back to that very feeling that made me feel so crappy. That feeling still exists sometimes, but I've lost much of the guilt over it.

Fortunately, I've accumulated enough sleep (and popped enough ABP's) to realize that it's okay to want to sleep instead of getting up with the baby. It doesn't mean I love her any less! I'll always want to comfort her and make her feel better when she's crying (and you better believe I'll always want to kick anyone's ass if they ever make her cry), but when I'm tired and I feel like staying in bed instead of getting up to rock her back to sleep, that's okay.

I'll eventually get my butt out of bed and stumble into the nursery to make her feel better (or I'll send Dennis in).

But, it's just one of those things that has taken me a good 8 months to realize that it's not worth feeling guilty about. It's not a bad thing to want sleep. And I want sleep. I want 8 hours of sleep. Every night. Really bad.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

9 hours and 45 minutes of bliss

No, I did not have an all-day all-you-can-eat chocolate fest lasting nearly 10 hours.

I didn't have a Brad Pitt movie marathon.

And I didn't enjoy a plane ride across the country.

My 9 hours and 45 minutes of bliss occurred between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6:15 a.m. It was during this time that a monumental miracle happened.

Kaylee slept.

Tooth #2 has been reeking havoc on our night life. For a couple weeks we felt as if we'd been transported back to Kaylee's newborn days, waking up every 2 hours, and at times, spending an hour trying to get her back to sleep. It was torture for us, and I imagine it wasn't exactly more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys for Kaylee, either, what with her little razor sharp tooth trying to make it's appearance.

I fed her at 6:15 and she slept again from 6:30 to 9.


And if it happens again tonight, I'm sure it's a signal of Armageddon...

A post-holiday update from my chaotic little corner of the world...

Hello bloggy friends!

You'll have to forgive me for being so absent during the past couple weeks. I've been enjoying time with family, way too many fattening goodies and trying not to use my brain as much as possible.

My hubby is a school teacher, so he's been on a 2-week break (that was much deserved). So, in turn, I've been limiting my time on the computer and spending as much time as possible with my little family.

So, here's an update on us...

Christmas was a success. We all survived just fine, and hubby and I realized we made the right choice by buying Kaylee one book for Christmas. I put it in her stocking, stuffed the rest full of toys she already had, and she promptly took the stuffed bear out of the top, dropped it on the floor and set off to play with a roll of wrapping paper.

Kaylee is crawling. She alternates between actual crawling and army crawling (army crawling is much faster), and is fascinated by all things non-toy. For example, she lives to crawl to the heater vent in her room and bang on it like a drum, she also likes to scrape the wall and she's enjoying a delectable new snack known as PIECES OF CARPET. She was chomping away on something a couple days ago, so I stuck my finger in her mouth and pulled out a piece of carpet. Lovely.

We're working on tooth #2, which resulted in Kaylee staying with her grandparents for 2 nights in row so as to prevent hubby and I from losing every single last marble we possess. It was fabulous.

We have implemented a strict budget that includes saving, trying to pay toward the principle on our car and house, and not overspending on such things as eating out or frivolous purchases. Such budget has made me realize that unless I want to stress out about money every waking moment of my life, I need to work 4 days a week instead of 3. More about that to come in future posts, I'm sure...

I am also trying a new concept related to housekeeping, which is a piece of advice a co-worker gave me. She said when she was raising her son, she had a rule that there was one room in her house that was her clean zone. It got picked up every day before bed, and no one was allowed to leave junk in that room.

I've chosen my clean room to be my kitchen, and so far, it's going well. No dirty dishes in the sink at night, no crap piling up on the counter, none of that. So, if the rest of my house is in shambles, at least my humble little kitchen looks decent. It really does make me feel better. And it's not hard to keep it up on a daily basis.

Oh, and my last update is that my hubby started his very own blog! It's called Destined for 1337ness, which in computer speak means "leetness" which in computer speak means "coolness" or something like that. I don't understand it completely, but it's something like that. Anyway, his blog is about computer stuff, gaming, things of that nature. Click here to check it out.

It's good to be back.