I’ll Love You Forever…Even When You Are Driving Me Crazy

Love you Forever

I remember the days before I was pregnant with my first child the time spent longing for a baby.  I remember buying pregnancy tests in three packs because I was too impatient to wait the recommended number of days after sex to see if I had conceived.  I remember the joy I felt one January day when I tested positive for a baby…only to cry my eyes out when I started my period the very next day.  You wouldn’t think it would hurt that much.  I had only been knowingly “pregnant” for 24 hours, but after two years of trying it was like a knife through the heart all the same.

That day was the day I said out loud, “I give up!”  I was done trying to get pregnant.  It was just too painful to fail month after month, year after year.  Who knew the secret to getting pregnant was to stop trying to get pregnant?  Seriously!  I conceived my son the very next month.  No counting days, no plotting of ovulation times, not even the routine purchasing of a pregnancy test.  Before I knew it, January was mid March and it dawned on me one day that I couldn’t remember having a period in February.  I doubled checked the calendar and saw the date circled for January, but no circle for February, and now it was March.

A quick trip to Rite Aid and one bathroom use later and there it was.  Two blue lines.  Not one, but two.  I was scared to be excited.  After all, I had two blue lines in January and that ended in the blink of an eye.  I kept the knowledge of my condition to myself for a couple of days.  I was afraid to jinx it.  It was like if I actually spoke the words, “I’m pregnant,” out loud then it would suddenly go away.  After a week of it not going away I finally told my husband.

baby ajEvery mom-to-be hears over and over that the first three months are the most risky.  Most miscarriages will happen during the first trimester.  What I didn’t know, though, was that during the first trimester your uterus is building up lining and preparing to grow a baby, so you feel a lot of cramping.  For a woman scared to death of a miscarriage cramping and that “feeling of starting” a period makes for a living hell.

It is no exaggeration to say that every day for the entire first trimester I would go to the bathroom constantly to check my undies for any signs of blood.  I tried not to focus on it.  I really did.  I knew the fear and stress and I was putting on myself was no good for me, and probably not for my baby, but trying to tell yourself to not to be afraid of your worst fear when you body constantly feels like your worst fear is in process of happening is like telling a fish not to breathe water.  It can’t be done.

baby aj 2Finally the days passed on the calendar and I entered that oh so much safer second trimester.  Yes, women could still lose a baby even at this point, but somehow the pregnancy felt so much more real to me now.  I was in my fourth month and I had heard the heart beat at the doctor’s office.  There was a heart beating inside my belly and it was magical and my own heart was filled with joy.

Everyone would always ask, do you want a girl or a boy, and my answer was always the same.  “I’m pregnant!  Finally!  I don’t care what it is!  It’s a baby and its mine.  As long as it’s healthy I am the happiest mom in the world.”

As much as I would have loved for this to be a magical time to go with the miracle happening in my belly, it wasn’t.  My marriage was falling apart.  My husband had agreed to a baby, but I am fairly certain now that when he made that agreement he was under the impression that I would never succeed in getting pregnant.  Now suddenly I was, and he was not happy about it, and he let me know just how unhappy he was about the situation every chance he got.

Further, my Rheumatoid Arthritis was out of control.  By the end of the pregnancy I was no longer worrying about the baby coming out of it alive, his daily kicks let me know he was just fine, but I was seriously worrying about whether or not I would get to the end still alive.

Miraculously, and being induced three weeks early, my sweet little baby boy was born, and my life was for ever changed.  I had a new purpose.  I was a mommy and this little tiny person needed me.

AJ 5 indy

Today my “baby” is soon to turn 13, and this morning he said some very harsh words to me that left me speechless.  The angry thoughts rolling through my head were very different than the ones that came out of my typing fingers today.  What started out as a snarky and angry blog somehow became a stroll down memory lane, and the realization that the mouthy teenager insulting me this morning is still my baby boy, still needs me, and hopefully will always need me just a little when he is grown up and living on his own.

my babyChildren can bring us to the brink of madness at times, but once the anger passes, only the love remains, always and forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shame On You Staples and Office Max for Making a Teacher’s Job Even Harder!

school supplies2

Every summer I watch my sales paper like a hawk waiting for that exact moment when the penny sales kick in.  Three prong folders a penny each.  Glue bottles 5 cents each.  Pencil cases regularly a dollar now 1 cent each.  Year after year I trekked to Staples and Office Max to get the most for my money…not for my own two boys, but for the 30 boys and girls who would show up in my classroom every September.

In the past teachers were allowed to purchase 25 items, and I would always take my son, AJ, with me so he could buy ten additional items, the limit that non-teachers were allowed to purchase.  This way I would have a full class set of the necessary school supplies and a couple extra for the new students who came later in the year.

I never minded spending my money on my students.  I work for a district that is cash strapped, and the parents are also short on funds.  To have a smooth school year we need those supplies, so every year I buy them myself.  I am not bragging, and this does not make me extra special.  Many, many teachers in districts across the country do the exact same thing.  We depend on those penny and nickel sales.  We NEED those penny and nickel sales.

To be fair, when I go to Staples or Office Max I don’t just buy the penny and nickel items and leave.  I also get my favorite pens, some printer ink, and stationary for myself, stickers to use throughout the school year, and the items that my own children will need for their school supplies.

Today, in the Sunday newspaper, arrived the new sale papers and there it was.  Folders, glue, pencil cases, all at Staples.  More folders, pencils, and paper were at Office Max.  Happy, happy, joy, joy!  It was time for this mommy/teacher to grab the kids and go shopping!

First we went to Staples.  I loaded up on my 25 items for each of the sales.  Then I grabbed a few different things that were also priced right.  AJ got his five items each since that was what was stated in the sales paper.

At the register I pulled out my Staples Educator Card and that’s when I was told that they had changed their policy.  Now, with my Educator Card, I would be allowed to just get the first TWO of each item for the penny or nickel.  Then I would have to pay full price for the other 23 items.  In several weeks I would get a Staples Rewards for the difference.  The Rewards could ONLY be used at Staples.  So at the end of the day, one way or another, I was going to spend a heck of a lot of money at Staples.  When I said to the customer service guy that the new policy was really going to hurt a lot of teachers because not all teachers would necessarily have that much money up front all he said was that was the way it was and there was nothing he could do about it.

So I added up all the items in my cart and I realized that I was about to lay down $60 or more for the school supplies at just this one store.  Even if I was going to get about $45 of it back down the road, it was a lot of money right now.  Plus I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of “Rewards.”  A reward means you are obligated to spend it back in the same store.  Further, rewards always have expiration dates on them and if you don’t use it before the expiration date, then you lose your money!  Period…the end…no second chances to get it back.  Trust me I have tried!  I can’t even begin to tell you how many “Gym Bucks” and “Kohl’s Cash” I have lost out on over the years for just that reason!  I was so stunned and disappointed that I literally walked away from my basket and left the store.

A very similar situation played out at Office Max.  Pay in full first, get a rebate later on that you can then use in the store at another time.  Apparently Staples and Office Max are under the presumption that teachers now make a ton of money and have loads of disposable income.  I am sorry to report that this teacher has taken a pay cut for several years in a row now due to declining state revenues.

So today started with great excitement and ended with me coming home with no school supplies.  None!  I was so upset that I didn’t even bother to purchase AJ’s five items.

I know Staples and Office Max are under no obligation to help me help impoverished children in my school district.  They are businesses trying to make a profit and I don’t begrudge them their profits.  But the new policy still stings none-the-less and I will most certainly notice the absence of those much needed school supplies come September.

My job is hard enough even under the best of circumstances, now we will be short of pencils, folders to hold papers for different subjects, and paper.  I am not exaggerating when I say it is perfectly normal for the school to run out of pencils and glue sticks by March.  That is when I pull out my secret stash that I stocked up on in July to see us through the rest of the year.  The same goes for paper and the like.

Now I will need to keep my fingers crossed that perhaps Target or Wal-Mart will put the things I need on a super sale, or else my little second graders will be going without this year.

When Will Science Invent a Pill That Will Make My Uterus Shrivel Up and Die?

tampon2

My baby making days are over.  I repeat my baby making days are over!!  To make sure this is a true statement my husband even went to the doctor and had the BIG V done.  That’s right, snip, snip baby!  Two quick snips and a week of holding an ice pack to his nuts ensured us that there would be no more “holy shit I think I’m fucking pregnant” false alarms.

I have to say, though, that I never thought I would still have a uterus at this point in my life.  Every female relative I have on my mom’s side of the family, from my grandmother, to my aunt, to even second and third cousins, all lost their uterus by the age of forty.  Apparently my mama’s family line is just really amazing when it comes to growing non-cancerous grapefruit sized tumors.

This fact would probably alarm and worry most women out there, but since I have been aware of it forever, I actually sort of began to look at that time period as something of a relief.  One routine surgery and I would be done with tampons, maxi pads, liners, etc., etc.

So a year ago when I went to the gynecologist I was a little bit more than blown away when she announced I had a perfectly healthy uterus.  That was the last thing I wanted to hear, especially since my time of the month wasn’t slowing down like all my friends were.  Every one I knew who was my age was suddenly having the gift of going a month or two without a period.  Not me.  Every twenty-eight days to the minute.  In fact, mine were getting heavier and more painful each month.  That just didn’t seem fair!

So my gynecologist scheduled for me something called an oblation.  Basically they burn the inside of your uterus and create “scar tissue” which then stops or significantly reduces future menstruation.  It was supposed to be a simple procedure that would take less than an hour.  I was told I could return to work the very next day.  My reply, “Whoo Hoo!  Sign me up.”

So a month later my hubby drove me to the hospital to have my simple procedure done.  I started to realize this might not be as simple has I had been led to believe when I was handed a bottle of 30 Vicodin, 30 Tylenol Three, and 30 800mg Ibuprofen tablets.  That was a shit load of serious pain meds for my simple procedure.

Later that night I was glad to have it as my lower abdomen hurt like hell.  I experienced very sharp pains that reminded me of being in labor.  The next day I did not go to work.  I was still suffering some intense cramping.  However, if this was going to alleviate the curse of my monthly cycles it would be worth it.

So the next month when I started my cycle right on time I was a bit pissed.  Then when it carried on for an entire week as usual I was even more pissed.  Apparently my healthy ass uterus is so strong that even a layer of scar tissue isn’t enough to stop my bodies desire to reproduce, even if I personally have no more desire to reproduce.

So now the options are to accept the status quo for another 8-10 years, take year round birth-control pills, or have a hysterectomy.  I don’t do well on the pill.  I am one of the few people in the world who has side effects from it.

My doctor is open-minded to performing the surgery even though my uterus is perfectly healthy.  I am the one who has doubts.  I have a pretty high pain threshold.  I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years, birthed two babies, and have had multiple foot surgeries.  But this time around, I am not sure if I want to endure a lot of pain when my body doesn’t actually require me to do so.

So again, I ask the question, if scientist can figure out a way to send people into space, and clone woolly mammoths using 30,000 year old blood, can’t they work on something a hell of a lot more practical?  Like say a pill that can help a woman all done with making babies shed her uterus like a snake sheds its skin?  Is that really too much to ask for?

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Scrunchie Lovers Unite!

fucked up now!2

I understand the cycle that is fashion.  I love fashion though happily admit that I am not a slave to it.  Since I don’t have a bank account as big as Jessica Simpson’s or that of Taylor Swift, I try to buy lots of timeless basics and then pick up a trendy piece here and there.

Usually when something becomes popular there is a four step process to its lifespan:

  • Part 1-It is the height of fashion and everyone is rocking the look.
  • Part 2-It is on the decline but a few die hard lovers are holding out and still wearing it.
  • Part 3-Now wearing this item has become something to ridicule and those unfortunate people who refuse to give it up are the butt of bad jokes.
  • Part 4-What’s old is new again, just reinvented with a new twist.

A perfect example of this 4 Part Lifespan would be bell bottom jeans.

  • Early 70’s:  Hey, cool jeans.
  • Late 70’s:    Are you still wearing those?
  • Any time in the 80’s:  Like, gag me with a spoon!  Who is the moron wearing bell bottoms?

Then came the year 2000, and moms everywhere were throwing away their mom jeans after being humiliated on Saturday Night Live.  But what were they to replace them with.  After all, they were moms and “tapered leg” jeans did not flatter most moms.

And then it happened!  Someone somewhere in the world realized that curvy women looked really freaking awesome in curvy jeans, and suddenly bell bottoms were reborn as The Boot Cut Jean.

I personally love my boot cut jeans, even though they are now on Part 2 of the fashion lifespan.  I am still carrying some baby weight and I’m not ready to give them up just yet.  Okay, so the baby is five years old, what’s your point! hillary2

But, this post is about scrunchies, and my deep love for scrunchies.  They were really popular in the 80’s and 90’s, but like bell bottoms they eventually reached Part 3 Joke Level.  Hilary Clinton wore a scrunchie and it literally made the front page of most national news agencies.  Oh the horror!  Oh the humanity!  What the hell was she thinking?  How could she have committed such a fashion faux pas?

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But it is time for the scrunchie to be reborn.  I love my scrunchies.  I never wear them out of the house for fear of committing the same faux pas that Hilary made in public, but secretly, in the privacy of my own home…I rock my scrunchie.

Back in the day I had them in every color.  They were my go to hair item.  It was easy to match whatever color outfit I was wearing.  I had extra large fluffy black and white silky ones for dressing up (Hey, stop laughing.  Yes there used to be dressy scrunchies damn it!  And they were cool.  And bitch they looked fabulous!!) .

On a hot day there was nothing more practical than a scrunchie.  Having a bad hair day, throw it up in a scrunchie.  Up all night with a screaming infant and hadn’t washed your hair in three days, scrunchie to the rescue.

Scrunchies were versatile.  You could wear a high ponytail, a low ponytail, a side ponytail, or use it to tie your hair up in a top knot.  The best part of scrunchies was that they were gentle to you hair!  Rubber bands and hair bands all put that not so lovely kink in your hair, which means if you are out in public you can’t take your hair down.  Scrunchies, however, were too soft to kink up your hair.  And then when it was time to let your hair down your fluffy scrunchie went around your wrist and became an instant bracelet.

ponytail scrunchie side tail b-scrunchie-getty-creativecatherine-zeta-jones4-203x300

Women everywhere, I am asking you to go to your bathroom today, right now, this very minute, and dig out that old scrunchie.  Don’t act like you don’t have one hiding in your bathroom.  You know you do.  If nothing else you use it each night to pull your hair back so you can wash off your make-up.  Go get it and wear it with pride.  Head straight to the mall and show the world your scrunchie love!

Share the love down below in the comments.  What fashion trend are you waiting for anxiously to be reborn?

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Just Because I Have It All Doesn’t Mean I Want It All

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Want it AllI am woman.  I am invincible.  I am tired.  It is more than just a cute catch phrase on my Facebook page.  It is the truth.  Day in and day out I do it all.  Cook, clean, grocery shop, and laundry?  Done, done, done, and done.  Take care of two boys and keep them mentally and creatively stimulated?  Done!  Piano lessons for the oldest, T-ball for the youngest, volunteering at the local food pantry and with the coming school year religious education gets tossed into the mix.

Work a full time job under incredibly stressful circumstances in an impoverished inner city environment that is often violent and do my very best to be a force of good in my students lives.  You bet your ass!

Write a blog offering my words of wisdom, experiences, and tips, hoping someone out there finds all this useful and perhaps a little funny.  Yes, that too, while also maintaining a Facebook page and a Pinterest page trying to find the most useful of information to share with my followers.

full time job

We live in a modest home in a lovely little sub surrounded by woods.  We have two cars, two kids, and a fat cat.  I am living the American dream…right?  Right?!?  So why is it most days I don’t feel quite so dreamy?

My life consists of two parts.  The September to June career woman part, and the Mid-June to end of August stay at home part.  I can honestly say that I know what it is to be on both sides of the fence, and believe me when I say I know exactly which side of the fence is greener, and not because it is covered in bullshit.

yes dear2

I know there are women out there who will want to tell me off, cuss me out, and bitch that I am undermining womanhood as we now know it today, but I will take being a stay at home mom over the working mom gig any day.  What ever I do, I will always do it to the best of my ability, no matter how many jobs are on my plate.

So when summer comes and I am home with my boys it is wonderful to just be a mom, a wife, and a homemaker.  It is nice to slow down and plan out our meals.  It is nice to have the time needed to wash, and dry, and fold, and put away all the laundry.  It is nice to have the time to take the boys to the park, even if it isn’t my favorite thing to do.  It is nice not to make sure every minute of the day is scheduled to the exact minute for fear of not getting it all done.

ask meIt is especially nice to have time to focus on my blog and my “internet job” which at least fills my soul if not my wallet.  Writing has always been a passion of mine, one I had to give up for several years because I had too much to do, but now that my youngest is a little older, and writing a blog is faster than writing Fan Fiction, I am able to do it once more.  Maybe some day I will be able to make a living off my writing but I’m not counting on it.

Sometimes I dream of quitting my job, no longer commuting sixty miles a day round trip, and waking up at 4:45 in the morning.  I think about how wonderful it would be to join my children’s school PTA’s, be a room mom, and all that good stuff, but I can’t.  First, it wouldn’t be fair to my dear husband who works longer days than I do.  Plus, both boys are now in all day school.  Let’s face it, once the kids are in all day school and you are still a stay at home mom, most people would just label you as being too lazy to work.  People stupid enough to think that need to be slapped in the face with a frying pan.

two jobsEven with my boys in school my home would run a heck of a lot more smoothly if I were here to manage everything.  As it is, we pay for a.m. child care, rely on grandparents to pick the boys up from school when one suddenly gets sick, and have to scramble to make arrangements whenever the boys have no school but I do.  My weekends are spent doing all the housework I was unable to do Monday-Friday, when I would rather be free to relax or play with the kids.

So yes, I have it all…but I would seriously like to give some of it back.

Are there any other working moms out there who would love to chuck their full time job?

The Very Best of the Mommy Cookbooks

Cookbooks

My second child is a very picky eater.  Foods that he happily devoured while he was a baby and a young toddler he now turns his nose up to and refuses to touch.  He is especially picky about veggies.  So like many moms I turned to the assorted “Mommy Cook Books” to sneak some proper nutrition into my child.  For example, he hates tomatoes with a passion, yet loves tomato sauce.  So spaghetti sauce is one of my favorite weapons for deceptive cooking, along with using my Pampered Chef slap chopper to mince veggies so small they all but disappear into whatever I am cooking.  I learned a lot of great tips from some really amazing cooks and I want to share them with you here.

Annabel Karmel

This mom is a great cook.  I especially LOVE her Finger-Picking Chicken Balls.  They are delicious chicken meatballs packed full of granny smith apples and grated carrots, and I often even toss in a handful of fresh baby spinach into the mix.  The boys gobble these down faster than any chicken nugget and because I buy hormone free chicken I know exactly what they are eating.  The two books worth the money for me are:

Superfoods lunchbox

Her Homemade Tomato Soup is another highly recommended recipe!

Jessica SeinfeldDeceptive

I was reluctant to buy this book at first because of the lack of pictures.  As a rule I want to see a photograph of what I am about to make, but this book was highly recommended to me by several of my mommy friends who also have a picky eater or two so I gave it a try.  I am glad I did.  I found many good recipes in here.  My boys especially love her Sweet Potato Pancakes and her Mac & Cheese with hidden cauliflower.

 

WeeCatherine McCord

I personally am a lover of all things Mexican and Italian when it comes to food so Catherine McCord was a perfect fit for my family.  This book has traditional types of food in it that kids already love, like quesadillas, enchiladas, and many kinds of pasta, but all prepared in a healthy fashion.  Plus, her Breakfast Cupcakes are nothing short of genius.  I mean, who doesn’t want a “frosted” cupcake for the occasional breakfast?  An added bonus is lots of beautiful pictures.

Betty Crocker

This cook book probably isn’t what you are thinking about when you think of cooking for kids, however, these recipes are very easy to modifyBig Book and very simple to prepare.  I may be a mom who wants her kids to eat healthy, but I also am a working mom who does not have all day to prepare and prep for out of this world dinners.  The Big Book of Weeknight Dinners is filled with traditional and new recipes of great food that can be assembled fast.  To keep the recipes healthy stick with your organic produce and hormone free meats.  The Moment’s Notice Menu Guide is also a life saver of those nights when you walk in and say to yourself, “What the hell am I cooking tonight?”

Pampered Chef

Everyone, and I mean everyone, I have ever served these Pampered Chef recipes to have absolutely loved them.  Maybe it is because so many of them rely on Pillsbury Crescent Rolls as the base of the recipe or maybe the seasoning is just perfect, I don’t know and I don’t care.  All I know is that the food is beyond delicious and the children devour it.

I admit that you do have to take a little care with these recipes because they can get high in sodium and fats due to their use of processed foods.  I have learned to purchase the reduced fat Pillsbury products if they are required and swap out seasoning packets and can soup for the reduced sodium versions.  For example, Ortega now has an envelope of Taco Seasoning that has 40% less sodium.  In my experience there is no difference in the taste of the final product when you are done cooking.

Further, these recipes, just like the Betty Crocker ones, go together extremely fast.  The books I have pictured below are the two that I recommend spending your money on.  Pampered Chef has many other cookbooks, but none of them, in my opinion, come close to these two.

All The Best Main Dishes

All of the cookbooks in this post can be purchased from Amazon.com, even the Pampered Chef ones, and of course if you spend $25 or more you get that wonderful free shipping.  One further note, none of the authors I have mentioned here are sponsoring this post.  These are cookbooks I have purchased over the years and use repeatedly because they work for me and my family.

 

Please share in the comments any chefs or cookbooks that you have found to be invaluable as a tool for putting quick and healthy meals on your dinner table in the comments.  I love to hear from my readers.

Curse You TLC’s Extreme Couponing

curse you TLC2

I have always been a coupon clipper. I received my Sunday newspaper every week and spent about fifteen minutes clipping my coupons and then browsing the sales paper before dashing out to the market. I usually saved about $20 a week once I combined sales and coupons.

Then, in 2010, like the rest of the nation, my family saw pay freezes and the following year actual pay cuts as both mine and my hubby’s employers struggled to survive. New choices had to be made. Data packages on our cell phones were removed saving us $50 a month. Phone calls were placed to the cable and internet companies and new packages and rates were negotiated saving us about $35 a month. The thermostat was raised from 72 degrees on the central air to 76 degrees saving us about $40 during summer months.

Then I saw an episode of Extreme Couponing. It was a light bulb moment. I mean, I already clipped coupons, this was just taking it to the next level. Now on Sundays a trip was made to the dollar store and 3 additional newspapers were purchased giving me four total. I clipped and organized and even purchased a binder. I joined a couple of coupon websites for added help and I was good to go. I am proud to say I never broke the rules. I bought the products the coupons listed in the sizes the coupons required, took advantage of combining sales and coupons and double coupons, and did a decent job at it.

I found that I still spent pretty much the same amount of money each week that I always spent, but I was coming home with double the quantity for the first couple of months. A nice little stockpile built up in my basement. I would say I was averaging about 35-40% in savings and it really helped out.

I know a lot of people make fun of the “stockpiles” but when I ended up in a wheel chair for four months because of multiple surgeries it was my stockpile that helped my husband cope with the added workload. All he had to do was run out for fresh meat, produce, and dairy. The rest was safely tucked away in the basement.

Flash forward two years later and I am now ready to chuck in the couponing towel. Thanks to all the coupon cheaters, fake coupons, and TLC actually showing its shoppers committing coupon fraud the ability for average coupon users to save a buck is pretty much gone.

(Follow these links for more info)

http://business.time.com/2013/05/23/how-extreme-couponing-is-ruining-coupons/

http://www.jillcataldo.com/extremecouponingreality

First came the rule-only 4 like coupons per transaction. Since I only ever bought four papers that was fine by me. But extreme couponers just made multiple transactions and continued to clear shelves and abuse the system anyway.

Then the value of the coupons began to change. Gone were the save a $1 on one item coupons. Suddenly you needed to buy 2 or 3 to be able to redeem your coupon. Next, the expiration dates got shorter and shorter, making it harder and harder to save your coupons and use them only when the items were on sale. I noticed more and more that the day after the coupon expired it would be scheduled to go on sale finally.

Furthermore, food coupons dried up. If you needed shampoo, lipstick, air freshener, or laundry products there were plenty of coupons for that. But if you actually wanted to buy a bag of frozen potatoes or cans of diced tomatoes then you were out of luck. I like shampoo and lipstick as much as the next girl, but I have a family of four that needs healthy food just as much as shiny hair.

And now, the biggest blow of all, just about all stores have stopped doubling coupons. It is just sad. I never buy multiple papers anymore. There is no point. Now I’ll look through three packs of weekly coupon inserts and end up clipping two or three coupons at the most, and even those aren’t that great.

I now do the bulk of our shopping at Costco using the high value coupons Costco mails to our door every month and since quantities are large my stockpile built up just as quickly.

Am I the only one having this problem with coupons? What strategies are you doing to save some money?

Cheap Entertainment

DCIM100SPORTI only found out about these free clinics for kids just recently.  Lowes home improvement stores have free make and take workshops.  Here is the link for you to follow to register your child in the next one.

http://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx

DCIM100SPORTMy boys went and had a blast building their monster trucks.  Next they are registered to build the Pizza Planet Truck from Toy Story and then a couple of weeks later they get to build RC from Toy Story.  Toy Story is a popular movie in this house and I know the boys will love making their new toys.

DCIM100SPORT

If you are like me and always looking for something for boys to do that doesn’t cost a fortune this is GREAT!

Please share if you know of a unique and free activity to sign up for.

Children…My Life…My Passion…and the Reason I Take Zoloft

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was 23 when I became a teacher. Fresh from college and eager to change the world by helping one child at a time. I was 29 when I became a mom and took a year off to raise my little boy. After that year was over I returned to teaching. I was 35 when I had baby number 2. This time I took two years off to be a stay at home mom, and would have taken a third if it had been possible. What shocked me was how much harder it was being a mom to two instead of one.

Perhaps it was because I was older, perhaps it was because suddenly the mommy stuff was never ending, or perhaps it was because I was newly married, newly relocated, and just had one to many changes in a short amount of time.Kisses

As hard as I worked the two years I was a stay at home mom though were nothing compared to when I finally returned to teaching. Just because I returned to the classroom didn’t mean that all that mommy stuff went away. Laundry still needed to be done, cleaning taken care of, dinner cooked, quality time given to my boys, quality time given to my husband, making time to visit a sick parent. I was at my wits end. I remember standing in front of the stove cooking dinner as tears rolled down my face because I was so tired.

Part of it is me. I want things to be perfect always, whether it is at home or at work. Part of it really is my situation. I basically do the kid thing 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. My job and my home life are just too much alike sometimes.

But I had to acknowledge one more factor that I really didn’t want to face. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am now forty and like it or not, my hormones were starting to get a little wonky. Can we say “premenopausal?” Yep, it was definitely a factor.

When you teach first grade patience is literally the #1 job requirement and I used to have it in spades. The past two years, however, I noticed that I was becoming more and more stressed out. At first I thought that I had just taken on too many responsibilities. I was on the fund-raising committee, the reading committee, and the carnival committee, as well as that full time teaching gig and motherhood thing. So of course I had a full blown hyperventilation panic attack one March morning just as the children were entering the building. I was burned out, over worked, and NOT medicated. Although a trip to the doctor’s office that March day fixed that problem. One bottle of Xanax with two refills coming right up.

The following September I decided I needed to take better care of myself. So I quit all the committees and just focused on the job and home. Things would get better, right? Wrong. I was still stressed, and now, I was easily angered by little things. My heart would race all day and I constantly felt like I was in “Fight or Flight” mode. I left work completely exhausted, and then when I got home I had no energy left for my own kids. All I wanted my boys to do was go away and leave me alone. I started to realize that the problem I had wasn’t a job problem. The problem was me. I was broken and didn’t even recognize the person I had become anymore. I finally realized that I needed help.

I scheduled a visit to see my OB/GYN. After a very long office visit where I talked about everything that was going on with me she confirmed what I was already suspecting. I was indeed in the early stages of menopause and my hormones were steadily driving me crazy.

She started me on a low dose of Zoloft which ended up getting increased just once. After a while I started to notice a difference. I still felt angry at times, but the anger didn’t control me. I was able to take a deep breathe and respond in an appropriate way. The same was true at home. I could now give my boys the quality time they needed and not feel resentful.

I don’t feel ashamed to admit that I needed a prescription. I know a lot of people would just say to suck it up and deal, but that strategy had stopped working for me and I was seriously going to have a heart attack if I didn’t find a way to calm down and get control of my emotions. If taking a little blue pill helps me to cope and be a better mom then I will do it.

I would love to hear from other moms, especially older moms who are also dealing with this situation. How are you battling your menopause?

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