Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bountiful Basket 6/18

Here's a picture of today's Bountiful Basket. We had a pretty good basket: 2 heads of romaine, 1 bunch of spinach, 1 stalk of celery, a bag of tomatoes, a ton of small peppers (again), 3 cucumbers, a lot of plums, a cantaloup, a bunch of bananas, a pineapple two pints of blackberries, and a cabbage. We made pork tacos tonight and used some of the peppers. Definitely going to be making some salads this week and we have a ton of fruit for breakfasts and lunches all week. We're eating healthier, which is nice, and getting items I typically wouldn't buy which is expanding our dinner menus. I love Bountiful Baskets!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mercy's Birth Story

Mercy's Birth 10/20/10 - 10:20 pm

I'm still working at Ruby Tuesday however now I'm the General Manager so that means I'm working more and longer hours. Usually put in about 50-55 hrs a week. And again, pregnancy isn't going to slow me down. I didn't miss a day of work, even with a UTI. I was pretty sure Mercy was going to come on her due date, but part of me thought she was going to be early cause I was showing fast. And I was big! I had 2 different people ask me if I was having twins. Not the nicest thing to ask a pregnant woman.

Unlike my first pregnancy, I did get morning sickness with this one. I didn't throw up a lot, maybe 10 times total throughout the pregnancy, but it still sucked. I didn't do much manual labor with this baby other than painting Grace's room purple. Mercy's room was already ready to go since she was taking over Grace's old room. I did however, play Just Dance on the Wii a lot and I guess it was pretty funny to see my belly shake. No pics or videos however cause I didn't want anyone other than my family to see it. I did have contractions early on, but nothing to worry the doctor so when one would come, I would just slow down for a minute.

I was due October 19th which was a Tuesday. I didn't care what day she was born but I didn't want her to come out on the 16th since that's my and Mike's anniversary and I wanted Mercy to have her own day. My last day of work was Monday the 11th and other than some mild contractions, I was pretty sure I was going to make it till the 19th. Needless to say, I did try some things to get mother nature moving a bit early. Heard that eating pineapple helped to soften the cervix so I ate a can one day at work. All it did was upset my stomach. We did take a drive out the canyon once, and that too didn't help. This baby was stayin' in till she was done cooking.

The week I had off of work before she was born I actually “nested” a bit. I got all my old Barbies out for Grace and cleaned and shopped. It was nice to not work and spend some time with Grace before her world got turned upside down.

When we took the Big Sister class (taught by Helen Hale, Paul's wife) I found out that Grace wouldn't be allowed in the delivery room. This changed up our plan a little. Now, thinking about it, I'm sure my doc would have been ok having her in there, but I'm glad she wasn't. It would have been hard to keep track of a toddler while focusing on birthing. Mike's dad was planning on coming up when I went into labor and Jamie was on-call as well.

October 19th comes and I have a doctor appointment. I weigh in (under 200 lbs!) and he checks my cervix and I'm at.... a 3. Really? A 3? That's what I was the week before. He asked if I wanted to be induced or wait it out, and I didn't want to be induced at all. So we decided that we'd schedule an appointment for the following Monday if she didn't come sooner. The doc also said she looked like she would weigh about the same as my first (about 7lbs). His nurse told me that second deliveries usually took half the time as the first so I was looking forward to an 11 hr or so labor. I went home to wait for something to happen. And I went to sleep disappointed.

I woke up the morning of the 20th and thought “if she's born today she'll have a 10-20-2010 birthday which is cool” and got over the fact that she wasn't born on her due date. I had been having contractions all morning but nothing consistent. There would be a big one and then 5 min later another, and then 20 min later the next. Nothing to get my hopes up. Comcast came out and set up our internet around 2 and Mike got home from work around 3. No contractions. Grace wanted to go to Willow park and I figured walking around the zoo could only help so Mike and I were discussing that when I felt a huge gush of liquid. At 3:30 pm my water broke, and when I say broke, I mean “Niagra Falls”. I'm pretty sure I swore (Mike says I did at least) and I scared Grace. I grabbed a blanket off the chair and shoved it between my legs while I screamed at him to get towels and the bag. I called Jamie and I honestly don't remember the conversation except it ended with her coming to get Grace. I waddled upstairs to sit on the toilet while I waited for Mike to get everything in the truck. I had some pads from when I came home after having Grace and thought that would work, cause well, it worked when my water broke with Grace, but it was kinda like plugging a hole in the Hover Dam with a bandaid. Jamie came and got Grace, I got in the truck (and realized I didn't have shoes on so Mike had to go back inside and get my flip-flops) and we headed to the hospital.

Our hospital is about 10 minutes away and thankfully school was already out or we'd be stuck in the insane traffic of parents picking up their kids. I had 4 strong contractions in the car on the way. I swore at every car that was going slow and at every red light. I was sure the baby was coming out NOW. Got to the hospital and can someone tell me why Delivery is on the 2nd floor?? Got checked in and headed to a room. Contractions still pretty regular and still pretty strong. The nurse in our room has to get me in the computers and of course the computer in our room isn't working so instead of switching rooms, they switch computers. Finally, I'm in, they get an IV in, monitors on my contractions and her heartbeat. My contractions are strong, but bearable. Mike heads home to change since he's still in work clothes. While he's gone I start really feeling the contractions and when he gets back I get my epidural (5:30 pm). It was amazing! And I Facebooked it and people made fun of me. :P

Now we just wait. I'm at a 4. I'm shocked that I'm only at a 4. Around 7 pm Mike's dad shows up and we decide to induce me to get my dilation moving. The epidural had slowed down the contractions. So they start the Pitocin and Mike takes his dad to our house (this is around 7:45 pm). Comparing things to the last pregnancy, we figure we have a while. The nurse comes to check around 8:30 pm and I'm at a 6 so she pumps up the Pitocin. About 30 min later I'm feeling the contractions. I shouldn't be, so I push the button and get an extra dose. Still feeling them 10 min later so I push it again. I swear I pushed that thing 4 or 5 times but I don't really remember. Then I notice that the monitor that's tracking the baby's heartbeat is pretty quiet. She must have moved but I'm nervous. I call Mike and he says he's 5 min away. I tell him to hurry, not sure why, but I feel like he needs to be there. The nurse comes in at 10 to check me again and Mike had just walked in the door. I tell her the heartbeat isn't tracking anymore and she explains the baby moves and when they move the monitor usually the baby moves again so she likes to wait. She checks me and her eyes bugged out! I was at a 10 and the baby was ready to come. The nurse wasn't! She told me not to push, she needed to call the doc and get the tables and things ready. Around 10:13pm I started pushing. We had been joking that the baby would be born at 10:20 on 10/20 and 7 minutes later when she came out, it was 10:20 pm. I only pushed through 4 contractions and she came out. Mike and I had an unofficial bet about how big she'd be. I said 7 lbs and some ounces, Mike said less than 7. When they put her on the scale she weighed in at 8lbs and 8oz!! So I was just having a big baby! The cord was wrapped around her head once, but she was ok and Mike got to cut the cord! My labor lasted 7 hrs from water breaking to delivery and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. My beautiful Mercy Jo was born at 10:20 pm on 10/20/2010. They handed her to me first and I thought she looked just like Grace. Mike held her next and even though she was big, she looked so tiny in his hands. Dicus baby number two was just perfect!

Grace's Birth Story

I was reading one of my friend's birth stories and I thought I'd share mine. I wrote this a few months after Grace was born. Here we go...

Gracie's Birth 11/25/06 3:17 pm

I am a salary manager at a restaurant so that means I work 50+ hrs a week. And I didn't slow down once after I got pregnant. We had some former employees who were pregnant and always needed to sit, or throw up or complain about the aches and pains of pregnancy. I did not want to be one of those women. I don't think I complained once about being pregnant. I never missed a shift (with the exception of a kidney stone...ouch!). And other than peeing every 30 minutes I was enjoying working and being pregnant. And hey, working in a restaurant I got tons of free food :)

I did not throw up once during my pregnancy. I craved mac and cheese and french fries and I pushed myself to my limits. I even painted the nursery and our kitchen (and got yelled at by every co-worker!) I took a lot of naps and whined while at home, but when I was at work, I sometimes forgot I was even pregnant. And got in trouble again for putting dishes away, lifting boxes (not heavy ones, I promise!) and being constantly on the move.

The baby was due Saturday, November 25th - 2 days after Thanksgiving. I was going to take maternity leave the following Monday cause I assumed I would be late. Then I got to thinking if something happened I didn't want them to have to cover shifts for me so I took leave the Tuesday before. Wednesday I felt guilty for not being at work. Thursday (Thanksgiving) we didn't do anything. We didn't even have a turkey cause I thought if I went into labor I didn't want to have a whole meal being made and wasted. Friday was another boring day and again felt guilty for not working. Mike (hubby) went to work (we were working at the same restaurant) that night and I sat down to do some cross-stitching and watch some movies.

Around 5:30 I went upstairs to pee (again) and stopped to peek out the window. That's when my water broke. However, I didn't know that's what had happened right away. I felt wetter and thought "Well that's different". Soon as I sat down to pee I realized what had happened and started freaking out. I hadn't even had any contractions. I called Mike's cell and of course he didn't answer, so I called our work and asked to talk to him. I told the hostess that my water had broke and she ran back to get Mike. When she told him I was on the phone and that my water had broke he told her to shut up and quit kidding him. Then he realized she was serious. He was out of there so fast.

So there I am, sitting on the toilet wondering what in the hell I'm going to do with all this liquid running out of me. No one tells you it keeps coming! I called my mom and she told me to get to the hospital. So I called the hospital and asked if that's what I was supposed to do. I hadn't had any contractions! I thought I was supposed to wait until they were 10 minutes apart and then go. They told me to come on down. By that time Mike got home and started to grab thing. I had already had the bags packed so we grabbed them and a towel for me to sit on and got on our way. Mike was freaking out and I kept calming him down. I had to keep reminding him not to speed and that we had plenty of time before the baby got there.

Got to the hospital and went to L&D. Stubborn old me refused a wheelchair :) They hooked me up to the monitors and checked my cervix....which was at 1cm.

They called the doc (not my doc...he was on vacation) and then it was time to just wait. Peeing sucked cause you had to unhook all the monitors, drag the IV, be careful not to leak fluids everywhere, do your business and make it back to the bed, all while your bum hangs out of a hospital gown. My MIL showed up as did my FIL (divorced) and BIL. The doc came and said since my water broke they would wait to see how I went naturally dilating, but if I wasn't far enough along by midnight they were going to induce. The monitor showed I was having contractions, but all it felt like was slight pressure. They also did an ultrasound to see how the baby was facing. She was head down but face up and she needed to turn before she could deliver so her head was down. It was only the 3rd ultrasound we saw of her. We could see her sticking out her tongue and putting her hands to her mouth. I could feel her moving inside of me and see her moving on the screen. It was a beautiful thing.

Midnight came and I was dilated to 2 cm. Contractions were a little stronger, but not unbearable. So they came and induced me. About an hr later I could feel the contractions start to hurt. At 2 I was doubling over. They gave me some fentinal (sp?). I think I got 2 doses before they finally came and did the epidural. That was heavenly!! However, didn't realize that you can't feel anything from the waist down. So they put in a catheter. Fun!

So I am drifting off to sleep for about hour long intervals. The nurses keep coming in to check on me. Every time I have a contraction, the baby's heartbeat goes from 140 to 100. Sometimes down lower. The monitors keep losing her (she's really an active baby) so they insert an internal monitor. Hours go by and the nurses are starting to get worried about her heart beat. It takes a while for it to comeback up. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there was meconium in the fluid so they are worried that the baby is distressed. Now I did not want a C-section at all. I didn't even want induced, but had no choice there. The doc wouldn't go longer than 6 hrs after the water breaks before inducing to reduce risk of infection. So I start to get worried every time I see the heartbeat fall below 100. I remember praying that God saves my baby no matter what. They keep checking me and I'm slowly getting more dilated. The doc says if I don't get to a 10 by 2:00 they're most likely going to have to do a c-section because of the stress the baby is in. I do not want that, so now I am praying for God to watch over my baby and for me to get to a 10!

At 2 they come and check and low and behold I am at 10cm. The nurses come in and start changing my bed into a birthing bed. It was like a Transformer. They prop my legs into the stirrups and the nurse goes over how I will push. The doc checks and she is face down. I pushed for about an hour. I remember the doc saying if I kept pushing and nothing happened they would do a c-section. I pushed like there was no tomorrow. I could feel her head and it was an odd pressure feeling since I was numb. Then I couldn't feel her head anymore. The doc asked if I had one more push and the next thing I knew the doc had her in his hands. Mike said she slipped out like an eel!

I just started bawling. There she was, my beautiful baby girl. After checking that it was indeed a girl, I counted her toes while they cleaned her off. I couldn't hold her right away because they needed to clear her lungs of the meconium. Turns out the cord was wrapped around her head twice which was why her heartbeat was dropping. She was born 3:17 pm on November 25 --- her due date! She weighed in at 6lbs 15 oz and was 20" long. Right after they gave her to me I threw up :)

Doesn't that figure.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bountiful Baskets & other random things.

We'll start with our Bountiful Basket! I have been wanting to do this for a while, but kept putting it off. I'm glad I finally did. I showed up at Peterson's Country Store expecting to keep the kids in the car and just grab my basket, but there was a huge line! So I hauled the kids out, with the laundry basket and went to stand in line. We probably waited about 20 minutes. Since it was my first time, I just assumed that was normal, but I guess the truck was 40 minutes late so next time will probably be different.

Here's a picture of our loot: We got 2 bunches of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of spinach, 3 artichokes, 1 cantaloup, 1 watermelon, 7 apples, 5 yellow onions, 6 peaches, 3 pears, 3 yellow peppers, 4 tomatoes, 12 random peppers and a bunch of bananas. If it wasn't my first time it'd only have cost $16.50, but I had to pay a first time fee of $3 which isn't bad.

Grace was hugging the watermelon and a pepper cause she said it was her buddies. LOL She kills me. The fruit will be nice for Mike's lunch. And we made banana smoothies when we got home. The onions are always useful and the cantaloup will make a great breakfast this week. Not sure what we'll do with the yellow peppers, but I'm already planning a quick salsa with the tomatoes and peppers. Only thing I'm not sure on is the artichoke. I've never worked with raw artichoke before, so we'll see!

Here's a picture of Mercy enjoying some of the banana. What a sweetie.

Lastly, here's the double rainbow from the other night. It was probably the brightest rainbow I have ever seen! But it made me laugh because of the Double Rainbow guy. You can check out his YouTube video here. Funny stuff!

We'll end with where we're at with the debt-snowball. Mike's probably cleaned about 14 or so lines this month and it's only the 11th. So that's about $140 to throw at the debt. One of my bartenders was a sweetie and gave me $20 for helping her out the other night. I told her I didn't need it cause I just like helping but she insisted so that's put in the snowball envelope. This week we're out of grocery money but we're planning on grilling kabobs tonight and then we have hotdogs, sloppy joes and probably a roast for early this week. I'm hoping for some good meal deals soon cause my stockpile of meat is gone. Should be coming up though cause it's grilling season. Enjoy your Saturday!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

One Week Down

Ok it's been one week of budgeting and our debt snowball. I'm exhausted. No, not because of this, but because of a long week at work and my day off filled with things to do. On the up-side I had 12 people in my SMART card class (which is $150!!), I had to take some tables at work the other day and made $27, and we just found out our insurance rates have gone DOWN (coverage has stayed the same) so we'll be saving an additional $46 a month! And by saving, I mean throwing another $46 a month at our debt!

Ok let's start with the budget. Right now we have it planned that we're spending $14 more than we have coming in. AND I had to make copies of the test for the SMART class which was around $6 and I didn't put anywhere in the budget yet....hold on. Doing that now. Depending on how the rest of the month goes, we may be able to tweek our gas budget a little, but I'm not sure. My husband's truck eats gas and it costs a ton to fill up! But his bonus at the beginning of the month was $40 more than we expected so it could come out of there. I'm finding a lot of little things that we'd forgot about that we have to put in the budget. There's medicine for the dog that makes our lawn stay green ($20 a month or so), my newspaper subscription (for all my couponing) and then formula. I'm done nursing so we have to add the cost of formula. I'm not a brand-name snob, so we're going with Kroger brand and it's been working just fine. And there's $2 off coupons on the top of the little puffs baby food snacks so that makes it around $10 for a canister. And we have to see what the dentist will be like. I'm probably due for x-rays but I wonder if they'll let me skip those. Dental stuff is expensive when you don't have insurance for it!

Mike and I had our first financial meeting last night. He was mostly asleep on the couch, but we did get to make sure we were on track (this is where I found out his truck eats gas) and we could talk about other stuff we have coming up (i.e. father's day...not sure where I'm going to fit this in the budget). The weird thing is we have money in our checking account right now. And if you look at our budget, it says we don't. It's cause we had money from last month's checks and I paid all the bills that were due at the beginning of the month, last month. It'll be interesting to see how the end of the month turns out.

I have shopped 2x with cash only now and not really had a problem. This week, Mercy slept the entire time, which helped. I ended up spending $83 and a couple bucks of that was from our toiletry fund ($30 a month for toilet paper, diapers, etc) So for the month so far, we still have $10 in our grocery fund. We decided to try Bountiful Baskets this week and that ended up costing us around $20 so I had to take that out of the budget. But, I think I'll be really happy with it. It'll be an entire basket of produce for only $20 vs a head of lettuce, some apples and potatoes for $20. And we're finally getting Grace to eat some real food.

So that pretty much covers the budgeting news for the week. I always wrote down our bills and had a ball-park figure, but putting in the grocery, gas and extras has been making a difference. It's not hard for me to not spend money. Hell, more often than not, I'm too busy to think about it. But at the store Grace will want a treat or a $3 juice cup (with a princess on it or something). Unfortunately we waited so long to start our Total Money Makeover cause she's already used to things. Mercy will just be growing up with us budgeting and saving. Grace is used to going out to eat, ordering pizza, and getting new toys all the time.

Ok on to the really exciting news. We started May with owing Great Lakes $2921. This was a loan Mike took out in college. It was a $5000 loan and we've ended up paying over $6k for it because of interest. One thing I'm learning, my kids will never had student loans! Before our house is paid off, we will have all of our kid's college funds going and rolling and I hope they never have student loans. So back to Great Lakes. As I mentioned in a previous post, we took money out of our savings to throw at this. We ended up getting some unexpected money from my Grandma. She does this every once in a while and it's a nice surprise. It went straight into the debt snowball. I had the SMART card money, the tips, plus another random $20 or so. And Mike had his line-cleaning money from May. That wasn't much, but we got distracted with the fence and he couldn't get out much to clean some times. This month he's already at like 10 or 12 lines cleaned (at like $10 a tower) and it's only the 9th! I also took about $100 out of our other checking account. That was the account we threw all our extra money in before. It actually is the account we paid for all Mercy's doctor bills. We own her straight up :)

So May 1st was $2921....balance as of today: $392!!! We have paid off almost $2500 in a month and a week! Granted, it was "found" money, not all earned money, but it's getting us going! If we didn't have dentist appointments this month, we'd be paying that sucker off! But I still have another SMART class this month. I really need to get some flyers out. And Mike has the line-cleaning money still. It will be paid by the middle of July.

Next thing on our list is my car. That's such a weird feeling. We have $6500 let on that, so it will take us more than just a month once we start attacking it, but I'm hoping to have a big dent in it by Christmas and have that paid off by this time next year. We'll be adding $78.51 (the Great Lakes minimum payment) to the monthly payment of $164 so that little extra will help, but it's really going to be the budgeting and throwing all the extra money at it.

Ok I'm almost done. I really think the Lord is watching over us and helping us with this. I don't think we would have had all this extra money before we sat down and started budgeting and controlling the urges for material things. I'm so thankful that Mike and I are both employed and we are able to have insurance. I'm thankful that he's helping us with our NFP so we don't have to add more kids to the equation (yet!) And I'm thankful that our kids will be raised to live debt-free and realize they don't need to rely on credit to enjoy their lives. Ok I'm done. I'll update again later!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sunny Saturday!

Finally, a nice day! We got so much stuff done today too! Mike cleaned 4 towers which is a great help with our debt snowball. I attacked our laundry and have about half of it done. Hopefully will get it finished tomorrow. I also cleaned the kitchen and Grace's bedroom & closet. I did some major purging and got rid of some toys she doesn't play with or even remember she has. We've been rotating toy bins so the Legos and Mega blocks went back downstairs and a bunch of Barbies came up. Grace kills me. Every one is "so beautiful" and all the Ken's are "so handsome". I pulled out some accessories and a ton of clothes, so she should be set for a while. I even had Mercy in her room with her (all little toys were put away so it was safe). It was so sweet to see my kiddo's playing together.

Mike got the lawn mowed and Grace played outside while he was mowing. And he got the garage cleaned out so we can finally park inside again. I like not having to lock my doors every night on my car. Grace did get a nasty cut on her leg from the left-over chain link. That means all of us (save Mercy) have been attacked by the chain link.

Lunch was a hodgepodge of stuff - bread-sticks, chips, etc. Then we cleaned ourselves up and headed to church. I Moby wrapped Mercy, and she was asleep until we walked in the foyer and all my church friends oogled her and she woke up to get some attention :) She pretty much stayed away all during church too. Father Clarence is back from his sabbatical and he was very much missed. And we unfortunately had an organ player at church and it was just awful. I felt so bad for Linda was singing.

After church, Mike & Grace went to 7-11 and got Slurpees because we had some leftover grocery money this week in the budget. Nice little treat.

We had burgers on the grill and oven fries for dinner. Grace ate an entire burger. She has never eaten an entire homemade burger. I'm so proud!

I got some cutie pics of Murp (our little nickname for Mercy) and some of the fence too. Posted. It was a great day. We did it all without spending money and got to spend time with our family together. Tomorrow I got to run some cereal up to church for the youth retreat and then I'm going to take the girls to feed the ducks at first dam for a picnic.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Total Money Makeover

We're really doing it. We've been mentioning it for years. We've previously cut up the cards and promised not to get new credit card debt. But this time, for real, we're going to be debt free!

If you have never listened to him, I highly suggest finding a station that plays Dave Ramsey and just listening for one episode so you know what I'm talking about. Right now, he's my personal hero. Dave Ramsey promotes "Living like no one else, so you can live like no one else". This means sacrifice and extra work to get yourself out of debt. He has a bunch of baby steps to help grow your personal wealth and live on cash only. Here's a quick recap of those:

Baby Step #1: Save $1000 emergency fund
Baby Step #2: Pay off all debt using the debt snowball, not including the house"
Baby Step #3: Save 3-6 month emergency fund
Baby Step #4: ...??

So we're way far away from Baby Step #4 but I think it's children's college fund and then Baby Step #5 is paying off the house.

The hardest thing we've done right now is cut our emergency fund down to $1000. We had about $2400 in savings and we dropped it down to $1k so we can throw the rest towards our lowest debt. I'm one of those people that wants to have a good safety net incase something happens like me losing my job. But I guess we've already lived through that. And survived.

The next hardest thing is actually writing a budget. We had been using to see where our money was going, but I haven't been on there in a long time. It is a good tool, but I think what we're doing now is better. I used the guide for a budget in the back of his book and put in into my Excel. Then I created formulas so I don't have to do the math :) Then I put in our incomes and budgeted out the rest. This month we all have dentist appointments and our new insurance doesn't cover dental, so we're looking at about $350 for that, but we're at a zero'd budget. This means we're not spending more than we have coming in.

We also use the envelope system for groceries, gas and entertainment. A set amount of cash goes into each envelope and when it's gone, we're done. I shopped yesterday for groceries with a $100 budget for the week and spent $71 :) Thank goodness for coupons :) The one thing I'm noticing that we're missing is "Blow" money. Money that we each get to buy whatever. I realized that we didn't budget this when one of my friends said we need a play-date which usually includes coffee or something. I have no room in my budget for coffee or something. So we'll be re-working the budget this weekend so we can have a little play money.

If we just pay minimum payments and don't snowball anything, we'll be paying off our debt until 2025. That's 14 more years!! Grace will be 18 and moving out! If we snowball our debt, but keep it at the minimum payments, we'll be paying off our debt until 2018! That's 7 more years!! Grace will be 11. Way better option. But I'm in fan of the next one which is attack it with everything we go. All extra money goes toward the debt, and I'm hoping to have it paid within the next 3-4. We're looking at a debt which is the same size as our yearly income. So if we can live off two-thirds of our income, we'll be debt free in 3 years. Hopefully soon, but we'll see. Anyway, I'll be keeping you updated!!