Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Fitness Diaries

Ha! I didn't forget about this endeavor. I just, well, failed miserably at keeping up with them. I did take Athena for a jog/walk last night for about 30 minutes. It was quite nice, and she was very well behaved. I did some stretches when we got back, and a few half-hearted crunches.

And today I feel like absolute crap. Apparently going for a jog is not a very good thing to do when you are sick and not in shape. I tried though, which is all that matters. I don't think I will go tonight, perhaps tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Suburban Garden Grows!

We've had an extremely wet year this year. I am home sick from work, and I figured I may as well take care of my garden a little and it might make me feel better. Well, I feel better mentally. Physically it wore me out. I also refilled J's baby pool so maybe this afternoon if we're all feeling up to it (did I mention that C and J are sick too?) we will go sit in the shade and J can play in the water.Sugarsnap Pea plants, and my birdbath herb garden.

I had to harvest my radishes because they were bolting, and my lettuce was looking pretty sad (in addition to aphid infested) so I decided to rip it out and I will start new seeds there this afternoon or later in the week.

My temporarily naked lettuce spot. I'm not sure that the radishes and carrots mixed so well together, but we'll see. Maybe now that the radishes are gone the carrots will thrive.

My monster tomato plants. I think there are eight of them. About half are Early Girls and the rest are cherry tomatoes.

Lovely zucchini plants!


Strawberries and bush beans. We got our first strawberry today! It was really yummy! C and I split it, since J wasn't interested.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Small Successes Thursday

It's that time again! Every Thursday (ideally) I will post three small things that I have done either that day or that week. The purpose of this is to remind myself, and women/moms in general, that the little things we do can and do add up to big things. Here goes!

1. Copied my Fertility Friend chart to a spreadsheet version more like the paper charts from TCOYF.

2. Got cash so I can take the train and bus in to work tomorrow.

3. Updated my Goodreads page and my to do list to reflect the most recent book I've read (Bel Canto).

Not so very exciting this week, but then, it's the little things that count!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Boy is Growing Up

Last night J didn't ask to nurse. He has been gradually getting more interested in the bedtime story than in nursing, but has always been pretty insistent (either saying "nurse!" or pulling up my shirt) that he get to nurse at least a little during his bedtime story. Last night, however, he only pinched at my shirt once and didn't even make an effort to ask, so we read "Goodnight Moon" and he pointed to various things in the pictures and then he went down peacefully with his sippy of water. I realize that he may very well want to nurse tonight, or tomorrow night, but I must say I was surprised that the bedtime nursing has been the one to go first. He definitely still wants his mama milk in the morning though! He was adamant about "sitch" this morning (his word for "switch" when he wants to switch what side he's nursing on) so that he made sure to get lots of yummy milk.

J also got his first big boy owies. I think he must be growing taller because his sense of balance has been off lately. First, he fell off the bottom stair at his cousin's house with SIL G standing right there with him (he is usually very good about not falling off of such a small distance) and busted open his top lip. So he had a fat lip for the rest of the day, and has a nice red owchie on it still. A couple hours later he tried to stand up on the sidewalk by getting into downward dog pose, unfortunately with his big head pointed downhill, and he fell and bonked/scraped his little forehead. Poor boy! He doesn't seem to mind the owies at all though, after the initial shock wore off. He thought it was hilarious that I was trying to take his picture. You can pretty much only see the goose egg on his head (top middle, right on the hairline), and a little bit of the red fat lip.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Fertile Time Nightmares Return

Two nights ago I had weird, unsettling dreams, that I can't remember now. Last night I had a dream that a rabid fox bit J's finger, and basically bit off the end of his finger, and it also bit me, and we had to go get rabies shots at the doctor. Before that though I released MacGuyver (the hound) and Athena to kill the fox. They caught it but didn't kill it so I had to break its neck, that's how I got bitten. When we finally found the doctor they didn't give me a shot, but they gave J one in the butt, and he cried.

Free Samples

Get a free sample of Stayfree maxi pads for overnights and a free sample of Carefree pantiliners here: http://instoresnow.walmart.com/enhancedrendercontent_ektid73198.aspx.

Also, along the lines of freebies for those of the female persuasion, here's a free sample of VCF contraceptive films. I totally love these, and they seem to work pretty well (I haven't gotten pregnant yet using them in conjunction with FAM, so that's good). This freebie actually sends you 3 films, which is great- that's like over $3 of free sample because they are pricey.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How am I on CD 18 already?!

Where has this cycle gone? I am already on CD 18. Huh. At least I am approaching ovulation. In theory. The crazy fucked up dreams have started as of last night, so it's getting closer...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

To all the dads out there, happy Father's Day! I hope you've all had a wonderful day, filled with as much or as little family, fishing, and/or grilling as you'd like.

We had a fairly average weekend, with going up north to see BIL J and SIL G yesterday, getting a freezer from them, borrowing their truck, and all kinds of groovy stuff. J got to play in his brand new baby pool, which I am pretty sure he thought was just an outside bath wearing clothes. He wouldn't be all that wrong, really, if that's what he thought, but later tonight when he was actually getting a bath he tried to go outside for it.

C had to work this morning, but at least he got to grill today (mmm, lamb chops...) and he's just coming home from fishing now.

I guess I should work on cleaning up some more, the house is an absolute mess. Oy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Vocal Kind of Morning

Little J popped up this morning the second I opened his door, and chirped "Nurse!" I guess he was hungry. After I changed him, he was looking behind me and babbling about something, so I asked what he was looking at and he said "bed" and pointed. Then he said "Thanks" twice, without prompting. Um. Wow. Talky boy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grandma Update

After extensive discussion between Mom, Grandma, the surgeon, and many doctors, the following decisions have been made:
1. IV Filter for the clot in her leg, problem solved. No blood thinners to prevent further clots due to the overall frailty of Grandma's health.
2. No treatment for the HH. She can eat a little but not enough to sustain herself indefinitely.
3. Grandma will go home to her assisted living community, and be given hospice care as needed, letting nature and the Universe take it's course.

I think that we're all getting more used to the idea of her going "home" now that the initial shock has worn off, and C and I have agreed that we need to visit her more, as a family, and that she needs to see J as much as possible. I can't recall if I mentioned before, but one of the reasons Grandma cited for wanting to stay around was to watch J and any future great-grandkids grow up. *sigh*

Panic Attack

The tickle begins deep inside, against my spine. Slowly, it spreads is arms and wings and legs, the many, many legs, and stretches luxuriantly. My breathing has to become shallow and quick like a rabbit's, or I will scream. My stomach clenches and I want to vomit but do not feel nauseous. My heart can't decide whether to pound or to flutter. The urge to scream grows as the tickle overtakes my core. I want to run, I want to hide but I want to shriek and cry and yell and ask the world why it is changing from what it was yesterday. I want something to take away the edge and make me focus away from this horrid itching inside.

For the love of my sanity, Stop.

ETA: It turns out that laying down in the dark and meditating on the states of various body parts for 20 minutes is very calming. No more impending panic, but now I am feeling very subdued. I'll take subdued over panicking any day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers Needed

My grandmother is in the hospital. She's very sick. She has a blood clot in her leg due to DVT and they can't give her blood thinners because she was vomiting blood last night (which is why she is in the hospital in the first place). The apparent cause of the vomiting is a severe hiatal hernia, where presumably part of her stomach has been trapped in the esophagus and lost circulation. If they don't operate, in her particular case, she could die. However, given her generally fragile health and the fact that she's 88, she may die from the surgery (or more likely, the anesthesia).

She's my only grandparent left. She's my mom's only immediate family, since her dad and her sister went "home" years ago. I feel so awful that I am not closer to my grandma. I don't know what to do for my mom. I have no clue what it means to lose a parent, and even though my mom has been "ready" for this for a while now, how ready can you really be to say goodbye to the person who brought you into this world and raised you and kissed your owies and taught you to sew and cook?

Anyway, if you are reading this, please send out a little thought or prayer to my grandma and my family. A painless and quick passing or a fast recovery would be nice. Advice on how to help my mom through this is also appreciated, since I'm her oldest and the closest to her.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Visit to the Aquarium

J loves fish. "Fish" was one of his first words. The aquarium was a big hit. He kept trying to climb through the glass and run ahead to see more fish. Glad I had the leash backpack! Yeah, I once said I would never leash my child, but my niece and nephews have these great puppy and monkey backpack leashes, and they really love the backpacks. In fact, they argue over whose "tail" I get to hold. So when my mom offered, I wasn't going to turn it down. I am going to eventually turn J's penguin backpack into one, too, but in the meantime, the puppy works fine.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Exercise in Frugality is no more. I will post good coupon codes here when I get them, but generally things will remain the same. I have imported all the posts of interest from that blog, which can be found under the tag Budget-Friendly Living.

My Reviews of Online Photo Services

I am a big fan of online photo services. I have memberships at Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Photobucket, and we have a family photo album at aboutmybaby.com. All of these offer the opportunity to purchase prints.

Each of these sites has its perks and of course its downsides.

Overall my favorite photo service. It allows you to upload boatloads of photos, and as long as you place an order once a year, they will keep your photos forever. Prints are very cheap, and at 9 cents apiece for 4x6 prints, cost significantly less than other sites. They also offer the option to either leave digital photos in their original size/format or crop to fit a 4x6 print size. Shipping is reasonable. They offer in store pickup at Walgreens and various grocery stores, though that tends to up the price per print because you end up paying whatever the store charges instead of the Snapfish rate. Snapfish also will process film for substantially less than a grocery store, and the quality is good. They offer a variety of photobooks, calendars, and other memorabilia for anyone interested in those kinds of things. Their photo cards and postcards are very reasonably priced and print up very nicely. The site is quite secure, and nobody can view your photos unless you share the album with them via email. Another bonus? eBates offers 10% cash back! A downside is that Snapfish does require membership to view photos in an album, so it makes sharing difficult if you have family members (like I do) who don't like to sign up for things. They have also changed their upload software so you must select individual files rather than a group of them to upload, so it takes longer to upload to the site than it used to.
Current coupons:
New customers get 50 free 4x6 prints

This photo service is nice in that no account is required to view someone's album or shared photos. They also offer free things (photo books, poster prints, etc) on a fairly regular basis. Uploading to their site is about the same as to Snapfish. However, their prints start at 15 cents apiece for a 4x6 print, and as far as I recall from ordering with them, they do not automatically offer the option of whether or not to crop digital photos to fit the 4x6 size (I think either all the pictures were cropped, or none of them were, so they then didn't fit into a 4x6 frame correctly). Making posters and photobooks with Shutterfly is easy and I really liked the variety of borders, covers, formats, etc that they offered. Shipping is reasonable. Also, if saving images from an album to your computer, they end up with a funny white border that you can't get rid of.

Current Coupons:
New members get 50 free 4x6 prints and free standard shipping on their first order
Free shipping on orders of $50+ with code SHIP50

I only use this site for online photo hosting to post images in forums. It allows you to upload other formats than .jpg images, which neither of the other sites do as far as I can determine. Print cost for a 4x6 is the same as through Shutterfly, but prints and photobooks, etc are processed through a site called Qoop with which I have no experience. You can also order prints for pickup at Target for 20 cents apiece.

This is more an online album and journal (or blog, even) than a photosharing website, but you can share photos and videos with friends and family easily. I have our site password protected, and the people I have invited to view it have the password. The site will email people who've chosen to be notified when you update it, and they can order prints of photos that they want, also through Qoop like Photobucket. You can also upload video to this site. I love that feature. It takes a while to process, but once uploaded the videos are easy to view. Photos can be uploaded en masse, which is also quite appealing to me.

Free MP3s and Audiobooks!

As far as I know, these offers are all still valid.

Get 75 free MP3s compatible with any player from eMusic when you use the Pizza Hut promotion. 25 of these songs are on a Pizza Hut sampler. No Pizza Hut purchase necessary. Basically you sign up for a free trial, any of them will do, download your 50 or 75 free songs, and cancel the trial within 14 days and you owe nothing.

eMusic also offers a free audiobooks trial, same deal as above, and get 1 credit toward any audiobook. Many books are available for just the 1 credit. You can also get one free audiobook from each of the following promotions (in theory- you probably have to provide different email addresses to take advantage of each): Audible.com is sponsoring the Escape Pod family of podcasts. Visit Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle to get the details, but basically you will be able to sign up for a free trial, download a one-credit audiobook and cancel your trial without having to pay anything.

All of these above promotions require a credit card number, but they won't charge anything unless you forget to cancel or go over the terms of your free trial.

Small Successes Thursdays, Late Again

I am doing SST so that I can remind myself, and women/moms in general, that the little things we do can and do add up to big things. Generally I will accomplish this by posting three things I have done that day or that week.

1. Got a binder made for a new protocol at work.
2. Hugged my baby.
3. Updated my blog with pictures of my garden!

Wow, I was sure busy yesterday. Haha. The things I did were important to me, though, which is really all that matters.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Little Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mine grows with lots and lots of rain!! You can't even see my pepper plants anymore, because the radishes have gone insane and the tomato plants are huge. If anyone knows good uses for radish greens, please share! The pic above is of my rose plant. Much bigger than the last time I posted!

Strawberries and beans and zucchinis and sunflowers!

My lovely pea plants. This was taken yesterday, and they've actually already grown taller today.

Two of my pitiful pepper plants.

My giganto container! It's gone a bit nuts, huh?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Saving Money on Groceries

This is an import from my soon to be dead Exercise in Frugality.

Also, here's a link to an article in Parenting listing the Best Coupon Sites for Moms.

Using coupons can be a great way to save money, especially if you use them in conjunction with in-store sales and specials. This is especially useful at Target. Anyway, there are some tricks to using grocery coupons effectively. Here are some things that I look for before using a coupon:
  • Check the other brands out. Often, the store brand is cheaper than the brand name even with the coupon, and the store brand is usually just as good as the national brand. (A huge exception is Kroger instant oatmeal. I don't know what they flavor that with, but ick.)
  • Is it a Save $ on TWO or more? If so, you may not actually be saving money. If you have a coupon for 50 cents off of any four boxes of cereal, and the cereal is $3.00 a box, and you wouldn't normally buy 4 boxes of cereal, it probably isn't worth it. Target frequently offers deals where if you purchase two or more of some brand you get a $5 gift card, and if you do this in conjunction with a coupon you may actually come out on top. More info on that in a recent posting at Baby Cheapskate. I did recently find a coupon here for $1 off any two TreeTop items (just search Tree Top)- if I use this on frozen juice, I can get both for under $1 each, which is a good bargain.
  • Is it something you would normally buy? Sure, $1 off of potato chips is nice, but if you don't normally buy them, is it worth spending the money you aren't saving?
I hope this is helpful to you!

I have found the Penny Pincher Gazette site useful in the past, it is great for comparing circulars from various stores. However, it doesn't cover all of the major stores in my area, but it will probably be useful to some of you! Sunday Saver is another good site with links to all major (and maybe all) grocery store circulars, but it doesn't compare them side by side for you. There are a lot of blogs linked from Baby Cheapskate that do the comparisons and coupon stacking for you, but I haven't thoroughly explored that yet.

Happy shopping!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My To-Do List and Home Improvements

Number 36 on my To-Do List is done!! Yesterday I touched up the paint and installed the hardware in the master bathroom! I think it looks quite lovely. Word to the wise, however. The drywall screws that come with the bathroom stuff suck. They went right through the drywall. It's a good thing we had another kind of drywall anchors around, or my project would have been a lot more irritating and more difficult. It is so nice to actually have toilet paper on a holder though, after almost/about 2 years of not having it there...Anyway, here are pictures of both our bathrooms, which we've redone, including the floors. Sorry, no before pics. Pretty much just picture white walls, and beige carpet. Yep, carpet. And ugly shiny towel bars.

Master Bathroom:

The lovely long counter, and my basket-o-toiletries.

The long-awaited tp holder :-)

View from the door. I absolutely love the color I picked, and it comes through nicely in the photos. I think we need new towels. Scratch that, I want new towels, but C doesn't think we need them. I guess ugly faded and unraveling towels are good enough for him. Ah well. I do keep an eye out for super bargains in the colors I want, but no luck yet.

The floor, peel and stick tiles all the way, baby! Apparently the flash did something funky, I don't know what that streak is. Usually there's a rug there, but I am not really as much of a fan of it now as I was when we bought it, since it doesn't much match the finished bathroom.

The Second Bathroom:
The floor, again peel and stick tiles. This was my first experience with them, and it's really not perfect, but it'll do til we want to sell the house. Then we'll redo the floor in this bathroom. In the meantime I think they look pretty nice!

View of the teeny shower and the towel rack. Not sure why the towels look blue in this picture, but they're really green.

The sink, and a better picture of the towel rack with green towels. I got the dolphin sculptures from Mexico, one was my mom's and one an old boyfriend gave me in high school.


I need a different career.

I took Friday off, and it was wonderful. I got a ton done around the house, J and I had a blast, the dogs got taken for a nice walk. All weekend was like that, with J and I bonding and doing chores. I felt liberated, happy, and free.

I came in to work this morning, and felt the anxiety building. Crushing me. I feel like a prisoner in my own body when I am at work. Sometimes the cell becomes transparent and I can see right through it, as if it isn't there, but then moments later it's back, the hard surfaces enclosing me in their grasp. Feeling judged, an outsider. Incapable of blending in. Terrified of making a mistake that will make people think less of me, that will make them think I am a slacker. I want everyone to know I get my work done.

I used to want to me a doctor, specifically a pediatrician. Then I realized that just wanting to take care of children was also covered by wanting to be a mom. Next logical step? Just get my degrees in Molecular/Cellular Biology. PhD didn't end up being what I wanted any more than med school, so I got my MS instead. Moved back home, get a job as a lab monkey. Two years later, slightly higher ranked lab monkey, drowning in mucous in her prison cell.

Every day I resent having to work. Joyless Occupational Bondage, as the MK ladies called the daily grind. I know I am so lucky to have a job, and I am glad I have a job, but it takes me away from my son. C is working an overnight shift tonight, so he's gone til 2am. I wish his job could support us without me having to work. I don't want to work outside the home at all. I want to be home with my child, and other children as they come along, but at this point that just isn't in the stars. I desperately wish I could just get a job as a teacher. After baby #2 that will be an option- I didn't want to be dealing with maternity leave while teaching, since I've heard that's a big pain in the ass. The funny thing? I always thought teachers didn't make very good money. Turns out I'd make more teaching than I do now, plus I'd get summers off. Summers off would be better than no time off.

I only need to take two classes. Next summer, perhaps. After C is done with his degree.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Small Successes Thursday, on Saturday

I am a bit late on this week's SST, but I am sure y'all will forgive me. :-)

SST exists so that I will remind myself, and women/moms in general, that the little things we do can and do add up to big things, by posting three things I have done that day or that week.

1. Had my annual evaluation (Thursday)
2. Spent some time with my mom (Tuesday and Wednesday)
3. Bought bus tickets (Monday)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Na na na na, Life Goes On...

Today begins a new cycle. Ugh. Which explains the mood swings of the last few days. I am glad I'm getting back on a fairly regular cycle, but I am really not keen on this 10 day LP thing. WTF? I always had a 13-14 day LP before pregnancy, I don't know what's going on with this new thing. Oh well. At least charting gives me 24 hours of warning before my period starts, what with the temp drop and all. Here's the link if you are interested: http://www.fertilityfriend.com/home/15d9e6.

In other news, I had my annual evaluation at work. Apparently I rock, but because of budget freezes no merit increase this year. Bummer, but we'll live. Hopefully later this year I can get another promotion, since at that point I think I will qualify for a level 4 peon. That would be nice, and comes with a handsome 10% raise in salary.

I also get to go shopping tonight!!! YAY! Boss Man told me that he wanted me to dress as though I will always be seeing a patient, so no more t-shirts. Boo that I don't get to wear t-shirts to work, but yay that I get to buy some business casual type tops and maybe pants as well. Bonus? Kohls is having a HUGE sale with power hours tonight and everything! Yay for retail therapy! I may still try and swing by a thrift store this weekend, too, but we'll see how much I get. Plus I can get birthday presents for my nephews and possibly my stepdad, since their birthdays were in the last couple weeks and we missed the party.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June Showers?

We've gotten lots and lots of rain recently. Like over 3 inches in the last week. My garden is absolutely loving it. I will have to get some updated pictures soon, but not right now, since it is dark out.

The mystery of my "miniature" rose bush has been solved! Apparently the miniature part was a graft. I don't know why it was grafted, but it was, and now the miniature part has died and the big regular part is thriving. I can't remember what color the roses were supposed to be when I bought it, but I am excited to find out!

If April showers bring May flowers, what on Earth do June showers bring? July flowers? Hmm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Hazards of Batteries

A little girl Elaina Redding died May 21, and I knew nothing about it until just now. She had swallowed a button battery, and even though her parents took her to the hospital and they took it out within about 10 hours of the toddler swallowing it, it was too late. Less than three weeks later, a coughing fit caused her to rupture her damaged esophagus and she bled to death.

The same thing happened to Hazel, but she was lucky. Hazel had the battery in her throat for six days, but she survived.

Please, please keep your batteries, any kind of battery, out of reach of your kids and pets. Lock them up if you have to. Don't put them in small trashcans that are easily raided.

Let's not allow any more senseless deaths from something so preventable darken our world.

Please keep the Redding family in your thoughts and prayers.