Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Been awhile….

I find time slipping away from me so often these days. Some weeks I am amazed that its time for our weekly get together at my Mom’s or the weekend again because it simply doesn’t seem like enough time has passed.

If you can believe it, I’m STILL sick, though not ragingly so. Its just under the surface. Not really enough to be noticeable, but it kinda feels like there is a sock in my throat and I now have a cough. There is also still some sinus pressure. It just won’t go away. While I no longer feel miserable, I don’t feel great either. Elsa has a runny nose too. I have a feeling that we have a very bad winter health-wise, but I’m praying its not so.

We decided to try hiring someone to come in once a week and help out with cleaning. They came for the first time last week and I was so nervous! I didn’t know what to do. But they were good. There were two ladies and they did a ton of work in 2 hours. They come again tomorrow and I need to decide what I need done. The bad part is that most of their work is completely obliterated in a week, but that happens to me too. Just the nature of 4 kids and two grown ups and a big dog. However, it is pretty nice to not have to worry about mopping the floor or cleaning bathrooms. They cleaned our master bedroom from top to bottom and for the first time in a REALLY long time Jason slept without a sneezing fit.

Last Thursday we joined the YMCA and after we figure it all out we’re hoping to go there as a family twice a week to workout, then maybe J and I will each take a class on some other night. I don’t want to work out, but I do desire a healthier body and I know it will give me more energy overall. I find gyms so stressful. I feel like I don’t know what to do or how to do it and then there is the process of putting the kids in the childcare and all that drama! But I’m going to force myself to it and hopefully it’ll start to be easier :)

Homeschooling is going well. We’re on a roll now and most days we can finish up everything for both kids in about 1.5 hours. They are enjoying it and Gwen has vastly improved on her reading (yay). Ethan is a trooper and works so quickly. I could probably do double lessons if it were just him, indeed, last year we did double up most days because he works so fast.

Elsa is such a charming 2 year old! She is talking so well and many mornings she crawls out of her crib (she does that now) and we have a little chat in our bed before we start the day. My Mom has been taking her to the Y family swim on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and she LOVES it!

Henry is growing fast and still is a chilled out baby. The midwife weighed him last week and he was 10lbs, 10oz! He’d gained a lb in a week! He just started smiling (check the pictures below) and coos a little too. He looks so big already, not newbornish at all anymore.

Jason and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary on the 12th. Its our 13th year together! Those numbers make me feel old :) I’ve been so blessed to have Jason in my life. He’s a great husband and Dad. We didn’t do much, but my parents took the kids Friday night and we were able to hit a restaurant, tour the Y, and just enjoy a quiet evening (well, as much as Henry would allow).

Snapped this pic of Miss Gwennie at a friends wedding last weekend. She’s just so darn cute and grown up!


Baby H’s first bathtub bath… He actually really liked floating and having warm water over him.




Some pics I took at random



And then a series I took trying to get a good shot for my Aunt!




A captured smile!


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Saving money and other things

The past week I’ve been immersed in various money saving/making things. Last Tuesday I attended a couponing seminar held by Amber from Coupon Connections NW. Wow, it was so interesting! Lots of good tips and ideas. After I left the seminar I was able to go to Albertsons and buy 30lbs of flour for $6. That didn’t even require a coupon. I will never be a super-couponer, but I realized I could do soooo much better just by reading ads and buying smartly. We already do pretty good (in fact, I’d say quite good!) with our food budget, but there is always always room for improvement.

One of the things I heard about at the seminar was Amazon Mom. Its a program from Amazon.com just for parents and caregivers. Signup is free and no obligation (i.e. no credit card required). You get 15% off all baby items like diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. You also get Amazon Prime for 3 months, which is their free 2-day shipping program. Every time you spend $25 in a single purchase of baby items, you get an extra month of Prime. If you don’t spend $25 in baby items in a single order, your Prime will expire after 3 months. Again, no credit card required and thus no worries about something renewing when you didn’t expect it! I signed up on October 1, nicely taking me through the Christmas season and thus saving me quite a bit in shipping! I’ve never ordered diapers online because I felt like I was getting a fairly good deal in the store. Well, Amazon has GREAT prices! Especially if you sign up for Subscribe & Save, which gives you an additional 15% off and ships items to you automatically after a specified period (you can choose weekly, monthly, or longer deliveries. You can start and stop the automatically deliveries at any time.). I got brand name diapers for .10 cents a diaper, and brand name wipes for .01 cents a wipe! That’s awesome and shoot, can you beat having it delivered for free to your door with 2 day shipping? I highly recommend it!

Another thing I’ve started using this week is Swagbucks. Amber talked about this at the seminar. Its a program that gives you points for web searching. After you earn x amount of points, you can use those points for various things. The best deal is the $5 Amazon gift card (takes 450 points). You can earn points other ways by doing surveys or whatever, but since you already use search engines anyway, using their search engine and being awarded points automatically is the easiest way to accumulate. I’ve been using it for a week and I have over 600 points. They have a toolbar you can download that lets you easily search and earn points.

One more mention, since I have these things on my mind, I’m a member of Opinion Outpost and take surveys through them. Occasionally I do product testing. Its very easy to do, takes just a bit of your time, and you can earn money. Not a lot, but some. I’ve been doing it for about 1.5 years and just today hit the $250 in earnings. I’m saving it up for… something. Haven’t decided yet! After signing up, its important to fill out your profile because this is what generates your surveys. They have to know what you like and have in order to send you the right surveys!

Anyway, enough of that. I just have found all these things very interesting and hopefully they’ll help us save money in the future.

Now, the other things.

I have a bad virus and feel quite poorly. Yesterday it hit me FAST (woke up with a tiny sore throat, raging just a few hours later). I though for sure it was strep and so went to the walk in clinic for a test. Turned out not to be strep, but some viral infection that has been going around. Its pretty miserable. I was so disappointed it was not strep. Sounds funny, but I just wanted antibiotics so I could feel better and not be infectious quickly. I have to admit that I totally lost it on the way home. I just cried and cried. A real good pity party for myself. Then I cried when I was at home and kept crying most the night. I can’t explain why exactly, I just couldn’t stop. I was so tired, and felt so bad, and felt like, “Oh great, another part of my body that is broken/feels bad”. Jason wasn’t home either, so I was trying to feed and wrangle the kids and I just felt like I could not do one more minute of this. I just sat on the couch with the baby and cried.

Some people have wondered if perhaps I’m depressed because I’m crying so much lately, but I don’t feel depressed. I just feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I have to think that those feelings will pass in time. Most days I feel like we get by ok. I just focus on today and what I’m doing that minute and try not to over think. But when something goes wrong or frustrates me, I’m very susceptible to losing it immediately.

The kids are doing ok. Lessons have been going well (though we haven’t managed any since Monday this week) and Gwen is improving with her concentration and effort. Henry is an amenable child and and goes with the flow most days. He’s so awake and aware these days. Next week all the kids (even Elsa… my Mom is going to take her during the day while I school the kids) start swimming lessons again and this will help burn off the energy that overflows in excess this time of year and in our too small house/yard.

Jason was told that he’ll be getting a promotion at work! It hasn’t come through yet, but should in the next week or so. He’s really pleased, as am I! He’s worked hard for Costco and his boss has been great about recognizing this. Now only if his commute didn’t take almost 1 + hours each way…