Saturday, November 28, 2009

I lost 30 pounds!

I'd been a little overweight all my life. When I was 18, 19, 20 I weighed around 140-150 and wore a size 10-12. Even then I wasn't totally happy with that, but it wasn't terrible. I figured I could still lose another 10-20 pounds.

Then I began dating my husband, and immediately put some weight on. I'm still not entirely sure why, I think it was mostly because I just stopped caring as much. I was comfortable with him, so any sense of self control I had when it came to food just went right out the window.

Then I got pregnant for my twins. I was 22 years old. I gained 100 pounds during that pregnancy, and only took off about 50 when they were born. That other 50 continued to stick around.

I tried numerous times through out the years to take that weight off, usually losing up to 15 pounds before giving up and putting 20 pounds back on. So for almost 7 years I hovered around 190 pounds.

This past summer I attempted to quit smoking, and was actually successful for 4 months. However I put on a lot of weight after quitting smoking. I still don't know exactly how much. Anyone who's ever gained unwanted weight knows the scale is an evil demon when you're heavier than you'd like to be, so I avoided it like the plague.

I ended up going back to smoking, partially in hopes to lose that extra weight, which of course was a silly idea. After awhile some of the weight did begin to come off, very slowly, but I was still a lot heavier than I should have been.

Then September rolled around, along with all the new TV shows. My husband and I are big fans of Dancing With The Stars, and watch it every Monday and Tuesday night. The only problem was on Tuesdays we'd sit down at 8pm forgetting the show didn't start until 9. So while flipping channels trying to find something to watch, we came across an episode of The Biggest Loser. For a couple weeks we'd watch the first hour of Biggest Loser before switching over to Dancing With The Stars.

Eventually I decided to go on the Internet and watch all of this season's episodes of Biggest Loser that I'd missed. That was the night it hit me! I'm watching this show, where some of the people only started off at about 250 pounds. During a bathroom break I decided to see how bad I'd let myself go. My scale said 225. How devistating! By the third or fourth week some of the Biggest Loser contestants already weigh less than I do!

The very next morning I started my diet and excersize plan. I stopped drinking soda, and drink nothing but water through out the day (that is after my single cup of coffee in the morning). I began eating breakfast, something I don't normally do. I chose healthier lunch and dinner options, plan a couple healthy snacks throughout the day, and gave up the late night munching, which was my biggest downfall.

Having cable can be a blessing sometimes, because I have access to an Excersize On Demand channel where I can choose a work out anytime I feel like it. There are many work outs available on that channel from Jillian Michaels (a Biggest Loser trainer). I've begun doing one of these work outs each day.

I've been on this diet and excersize plan for about 6 weeks now, which is phenomenal for me, I've never been on a diet longer than a month in my life! And I've lost about 30 pounds, another huge accomplishment, I've never lost more than 20 pounds while dieting. I'm currently down to about 195 and loving it. I'm back to fitting into all of my clothes again, which is a great feeling.

But right now is about the hardest part of my diet. It's been really hard to get much further below my current weight, so I've been comfortable here for 7 years. I do plan to continue on this diet and excersize plan. I'll actually be joining my local YMCA within the next week or so, so then I'll have access to gym equipment, aerobics classes, a pool, and a number of other fitness activities, which is very exciting for me. I just worry (as I've been doing since the day I began this diet) whether or not I'll be able to continue to lose weight and maintain my diet and excersize plan.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Poor Javy



Javy's true passion in life is sports. That's always been his passion and it probably always will. He's decided he wants to be a professional football player, and who am I to squash that dream? I do everything I can to support him and help him be successful in sports.

This year he has finally started playing football through school, they call it "modified". He's absolutely loving it, it's his first time playing real football.

Well, two days ago the silly child cuts his hand pretty bad in his locker. I had to go pick him up from school and take him to the doctor, where he ended up getting 3 stitches on his middle finger.

So, then the doctor tells us Javy can't play football or participate in Phys. Ed. for 3 weeks!! I'm thinking "Are you nuts??" It's just a little cut on his finger!

So I told Javy to ignore all that and go to football practice anyways. Unfortunatly the school nurse and the coach both told Javy that school rules state he's not allowed to play with stitches!! Ugh!! However, he still has to attend practices even if he can't play or participate!!

So the doctor who stitched Javy's finger said no sports for 3 weeks!! He's going to get the stitches out in 2 weeks... by then he'll have already missed the first game.

He's heartbroken, and so am I. This is such a blow to him. I'm hoping to find a way to shorten his wait time and get him back in football before that first game. I'd hate to see him miss it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer is Over!



Summer has come to an end. The children went back to school yesterday. What an eventful day that was. Javy is now in football through school, they call it "modified" which is basically one step under JV. He has practice immediately after school, and it lasts until 5:15pm... every single day!! School is not walking distance, and of course the buses won't stay that late, so I've got to drag all the kids out during our usual dinner hour to go get him! Thankfully that only lasts through October.

In October Tristan will be starting her dance classes. We signed her up for all 3 classes this year, ballet, jazz, and tap. What were we thinking?? Now we're wondering how we're coming up with all that money!

Last year Tyler was in Soccer which went September and October. We haven't signed him up for that yet this year, although I'm sure he'd love to do it. We just don't seem to have an extra dime to our name these days.. but don't get me started on that!!

I have been trying to get Aydan into Head Start, which was a long, drawn out process. He was finally approved, but their classes are already full. If there's an opening during the school year he may be able to get in, but I'm not holding my breath.

For now I'm just going to enjoy the semi-peaceful days of having just Aydan and Mathieu at home with me. At least I don't have to worry much about the older kids getting bored and needing stimulation. Aydan and Mathieu do pretty well at entertaining themselves, and they don't NEED me to take them somewhere everyday like the older kids did.

Although I must say we did have a decent summer, I still felt it wasn't good enough for the kids. When I was young I remember going camping and swimming at the lake and things like that. I can't really afford to take my kids on trips like that, and we didn't exactly have the perfect weather this year either. We did a few fun things, including going to an amusement park and the State Fair, but I still felt rather bad that their summer wasn't memorable enough.

Perhaps my guilty feelings are due to our current situation, living in this trailer park. For the last 3 years we had a house in a wonderful neighborhood. We had a large yard, and great neighbors who all had kids for mine to play with. No pool, but at least I could hook up a hose or fill up a little wading pool on hot days. It was also very nice to just go for walks through our neighborhood.

Now we live in a small trailer park right off the highway. There's nowhere to walk except for around the trailer park. We have no yard to speak of, and certainly no hook up for a hose on hot days.

Basically this boils down to needing to frequent the local playgrounds to allow the children to let off some steam and get some exercise. On hot days we must visit the pool or beach or something, which costs quite a bit of money for a family this size, and not something I can afford to do as often as needed.

That, along with some of the other downfalls of living in a trailer park are pushing me to think about moving out a lot sooner than we planned. I try very hard to stay upbeat about the situation, knowing we can't really afford much else, and our credit just sucks so owning our own home anytime soon is not an option!! But some days staying up beat about it is far too difficult!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Surprise Surgery

As I sit here typing this blog I am home, recovering from the surgery I had yesterday morning.

It actually starting on Sunday, 3 days ago. I was having some cramps in my lower abdomen and had begun bleeding although I knew it wasn't that time of the month, that had only been a couple weeks ago.

I let it go that day, dulling the pain with some ibuprofen, but I made an appointment to see my doctor on Monday morning.

My doctor took some blood and urine tests, but "guessed" that my pain was mostly caused by my IUD shifting. I'd had this IUD for over a year already, and never had a problem with it before, but of course there is a first time for everything. So I scheduled an ultra sound and an appointing with an ob/gyn to take a look at my IUD.

Unfortunately the pain became worse that evening, and I forced myself to go to the ER.

After a four and a half hour wait I was finally called back into a room. Then another hour and a half wait and a doctor finally came in to look at me. She did a pelvic exam, noticed the IUD appeared to still be in place, but she too assumed it had probably just shifted and that was causing my pain and bleeding. She gave me some pain pills and told me to just stick with the course of action already planned by my regular doctor.

So I got dressed and I'm sitting in the ER room awaiting my discharge papers seriously cursing myself out for wasting nearly 7 hours for absolutely nothing!! Then the doctor comes back in and says "I have bad news." According to my urine test, I'm pregnant!!

Of course this came as a huge shock and nothing she said afterwards even registered with my brain. I had the IUD for almost a year and a half and never before had I had a problem. Obviously I hadn't gotten pregnant so I'd thought it had been doing it's job.

Plus I just have to mention here that Jay did get a vasectomy while I was pregnant with Aydan. Of course well over a year after that we found out we were pregnant with Mathieu. So it just seems to me that no matter what I do I'm cursed (or blessed) to just continue getting pregnant.

So they called in the ultra sound technician and sent me off to do that. Believe it or not my IUD had not moved or shifted, it was exactly where it was supposed to be. So how on earth did I get pregnant? Well that's the million dollar question, isn't it?

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to look at it) the pregnancy was not in my uterus... it was in my fallopian tubes, otherwise known as an Ectopic Pregnancy.

So, I had to undergo surgery to remove the pregnancy. They also removed my IUD, which obviously wasn't working; did a D&C, which is standard procedure after a lost pregnancy; and since the doctor had trouble finding which side the pregnancy was on, I lost both of my fallopian tubes, which is just fine by me because obviously I have no intentions of attempting another pregnancy!

However, with the luck my husband and I seem to have, I'm still figuring it's only a matter of time before I wind up pregnant again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Kids Bowl Free



If you live in the U.S. you can go to www.kidsbowlfree.com, find a participating bowling center near you, and register your children under 15 for free bowling! You'll be able to print coupons good for 2 free games per day until the end of August!

I registered a couple days ago and went today for the first time. Bowling is not something we do very often, but it was free, so why not?

The kids had a great time, and we're all looking forward to going again!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just A Walk In The Woods...



Sundays are typically our family day. We do our best to find some sort of family activity to do together. Sometimes it's going to the zoo, or just playing at a playground.

This week we decided to go to Beaver Lake Nature Center. We'd never been there before, and I'm surprised it took us so long to try it. It only cost $2 to visit. Mostly it's just a bunch of nature trails, one of them completely looping the lake! There was an actual nature center building with a bit of information about some of the wildlife we may see along the trails, which we found quite interesting.

After browsing the center we decided to walk the Bog Trail, which was only supposed to be a little over half a mile one way, but with Mathieu walking and us taking our time to look at things and point things out to the kids, it ended up taking us a good 2 hours to complete!

This is certainly something we'll be doing again! I feel an enormous sense of pride getting my children in touch with nature and teaching them bits and pieces about the Earth and environment while we're hiking!

If you have a nature center near you, I suggest planning a visit with your whole family.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So it continues...

My difficult situation only continues to get worse. It honestly has not let up at all in about a month!

We'd finally gotten Jay's car fixed, and killed ourselves to do it. We had to buy the parts and pay the mechanic which meant putting off bills again and playing catch up again. My van... still not fixed, and we'll somehow have to come up with the money for that.

Our bank account has been negative for a month already, and the car repairs just made that drag on even longer.

So this week we had to pay our rent, and we didn't even have enough to do that. Basically we purposely overdrew the bank account in order to pay rent, and if you ask me, that's pretty darn low!

So we've gone all week with no money, which we're not at all used to doing. We've also been running out of everything as we go. We have no milk now, no eggs, we're almost out of bread, we used our last stick of butter last night. So basically we have nothing to eat and I don't even have the means to make something.

We just kept thinking we'd only have to make it until Thursday. On Thursday I can write a check at the store which won't cash until Friday (can you tell we've done this before?). I also planned on visiting the food pantry again on Thursday to help with our groceries this week so we can hopefully finish playing catch up and be okay.

So, here it is Wednesday morning. Jay gets up and gets ready for work, comes back in the house a minute later... his car won't start!!! He thinks it's an ignition coil this time.

Certainly not something we wanted to deal with! We're already stressed and worn out...

*sigh*

Friday, June 26, 2009

How much lemonade does one really need?


This past Monday I went out to run some errands. I brought the boys to the playground, and on the way back stopped at the Credit Union. I left the Credit Union and my van began acting up. It started sputtering. I knew I was low on gas, but my gas gauge had been acting up, so I wasn't sure just how low. So, I immediately knew I was running out of gas. I panicked a little, because it had been years since I've run out of gas, and I was in the middle of a very busy intersection. At first I debated whether I could make it to the gas station. I began to pull around the corner, as that was my only option at the moment, but my car was no longer moving. It was still running, but stepping on the gas pedal wasn't making it go anywhere.

So, there I sat on the side of an extremely busy road with my 2 youngest boys in the back seat. I don't own a cell phone, so I was basically stranded. I put the car in neutral and tried to push it by myself, something I'd obviously never done before because I had no idea how heavy it was! I thought being in neutral it wouldn't be that difficult, it would just roll along.. but it takes a whole lot of effort to get it going! Wow!

Finally, after perhaps 10 minutes of panic and thinking about my next move, someone finally stopped to offer help. He helped push my van into the KFC driveway, although we couldn't get it up the incline, so there it sat in the driveway. He also let me use his phone and I called Jay who was at work, thankfully I was right down the road.

A little while later Jay shows up with a gallon of gas. He puts it in and tries to start the car, nothing. He takes off to get another gallon, puts it in, still nothing. He kept trying for almost an hour, until we finally had to leave in order for me to get home in time for the other kids. In the end we used his Durango to push my van into a parking spot at KFC.

Jay went back later with his co-worker, added yet another gallon of gas, and tried a few different things, yet still could not get the car started. So it sat there overnight in the KFC parking lot.

Tuesday evening Jay and an acquaintance of his managed to get the van to Aaron's (where Jay works), but still could not get it started.

But then, on Jay's way home Tuesday night, a belt broke on his car! He made it home, but figured the car wouldn't start after that, because after the belt broke the car was just going on battery power. UGH!!

Wednesday was Jay's day off, and we were stranded at home with no vehicle what so ever. He went tinkering with his car and managed to get it started, so drove it to a garage nearby where he and his family have gotten their vehicles worked on for over 20 years! Once there he's told they won't be able to get to his car today, and of course now the car will not start, so Jay had to walk home from there!

Later he's told that on top of the belt needing to be replaced, he's also blown the water pump and that will need to be fixed before the car will work.

So, here it is Friday, and we still have no vehicle. My van is still sitting down at Aaron's. Jay has a customer who's quite knowledgeable about vehicles who's supposed to be coming to take a look at mine, he thinks he knows what's wrong and how to fix it, so we're waiting on him for that. The garage where Jay's car is at is extremely busy and although they have the parts they need, and we've even given them a payment towards the work, we probably won't get that car back until Monday.

So we're stranded at home, and to make matters worse, the kids have been off school since Wednesday for their summer vacation.

It really wouldn't be that bad if we weren't living in a trailer park!! We basically have no yard what so ever and no place for the kids to go play. I don't know the people in this trailer park that well so I won't let the kids just go explore (the last trailer park we lived in was a nightmare and Javy kept getting beat up whenever he left our house).

I planned on spending the summer elsewhere, like driving to playgrounds and parks and pools and beaches, stuff like that. So sitting here without a car is really torture on all of us!

The kids have been on their absolute worst behavior which is not helping matters at all!!

And, as if that wasn't bad enough, due to our car repairs and other bills coming up, we're flat fricken broke again, like as bad as we were a few weeks ago!! For the next 2 or 3 weeks we're going to be short on grocery money again!

I'm not going to ask if things can get any worse, because I know they can, but man oh man I wish it would stop!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Aydan!



Today is Aydan's birthday. We actually celebrated it yesterday when Jay was home. We spent most of the day at the zoo...






When we got home I gave Jay his Father's Day gifts, one of them being a little charcoal grill. It's portable so we can take it to a park for a picnic, which is what he really wanted. I also bought burgers for dinner yesterday so he could play with his new toy...




After dinner Aydan got his cake and presents...




All in all it was a great day. Today, aside from all the cleaning I have to do, will probably just be a lazy day. I might take the boys to a playground after lunch though!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One of those days..


Yesterday morning my first thought when I woke up was "I think I'm going to make them all nap today!".

The very first thing I heard when I woke up in the morning was arguing, crying, screaming, whining, fighting, etc. This can be very typical for my children, especially the middle 3, but not first thing in the morning. First thing in the morning their butts are usually planted in front of the TV and they're zoned out like zombies.

The day continued to get worse from there. Aydan desperately needed a nap because he didn't stop whining all day, and I kept saying I'd put him down right after lunch.

Javier was the most aggravating though. Sometimes you wonder if he does this stuff on purpose!!

I had a lot to get done yesterday. I was preparing for both Father's Day and Aydan's birthday, so I had to bake 2 cakes, wrap presents for both, do some laundry, and had quite a few errands to run. I asked Javy to help with small jobs and it only created stress!

I ask him to help me get Mathieu ready to go out to run our errands, and he looks like he's going to break Mathieu's foot trying to get the sneaker on him. So then I ask him to find my purse while I get Mathieu's shoes on, and he spills my change bowl that's on my dresser, and knocks down a box of light bulbs, spilling them, and doesn't bother to pick these things up. I end up finding my purse because he's looking in the silliest of places, like under the bed!

And all that was before 10am!! The rest of the day was more of the same, it was truly pointless to ask Javy for help with anything because it only led to frustration, but do you think I'd learn? Nope, I kept asking him for help.

Thankfully Jay was out of work at 2pm. I never did end up putting the kids down for a nap! But Jay gets home from work and he's stressed out too.

That's when a light bulb went off in my head!! "Let's go out!" I thought. So I called my mother, whom I had to drive into the city to pick up, that's about half an hour drive. She doesn't drive, she's legally blind.

So Jay and I ended up going out to eat, and then spent a couple hours just walking around the mall. I forced him to buy himself an outfit at Old Navy, he really needed it, he doesn't like any of the jeans he owns, and doesn't have many shirts to wear. He ended up going to the mall in work clothes, which is typical for him because he just doesn't own much clothing!

We also bought a candle from the Yankee Candle company. It's called Green Grass. It smells just like a candle they used to have called Fresh Cut Grass, one of my favorite smells! They stopped making Fresh Cut Grass, and we spent years looking for something similar, so we were rather excited to find the Green Grass candle yesterday!

After our outing we came home to discover our kid's had not behaved at all while we were out. Actually it appears Javier was okay, but the twins were the hellions!! I am surprised because they usually do not behave like little animals, especially not for other people, so I'm still quite angry at them!

Looks like they're going to get a very very long talking to before we go out without them again!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shopping Day


Today was Friday... that means it was grocery shopping day. My Fridays are all usually the same, I start out around 9:30am and drive 20-30 minutes to Sam's Club (similar to Costco or BJ's). I buy most of our meat at Sam's Club. I love the prices of some of the things there! For $15 or less I get a large pork loin and this will usually give us 3 dinners, pork roast one night, pork chops another night, and perhaps bbq pulled pork on the 3rd night... I switch it up so we don't get too tired of pork. I'm always on the look out for new recipes my family will love.

I typically spend about $100 at Sam's, mostly on meat, but I'll grab a few other things too, like perhaps some dinner rolls, waffles, cereal, maybe soda. I drop these groceries off at home, then I head to Super Walmart where I buy the remainder of our weekly groceries, and usually spend nearly another $100. I'm home usually no later than 2pm.

The only variations to my Fridays are when we have $100 or less to cover the entire week's groceries, such as the past few weeks, then I skip Sam's and do all the shopping at Walmart. Or, on occasion I'll add another stop to my day. If I have a little extra spending money, or a little extra time on my hands, I might stop at the Salvation Army thrift store.

Well, today I decided to bring my mother along for the ride. I guess I just wanted the company. I left early to pick her up, and then because I had so much extra time, I decided to go to the Salvation Army. I picked out a couple of nice tops, and go up to pay for them... well, I don't have my bank card!!

A few months ago we went to a restaurant about an hour away from home while we were visiting the zoo in that city (we have a membership, so get tired of our own zoo and go to the next closest one for a change of scenery). Jay paid for our meal with his bank card, and accidentally left it there!! We didn't figure it out until we got home, but we called them and asked them to mail us our card, which they said they would. Well, we waited and waited and never got the card, so we had to have the bank issue us a new one, long story short, he only just got the new card and pin number, but only activated the card today!!

Well this past Wednesday we were out and about, and Jay used my card at the ATM, and of course, never gave it back to me.

So I'm half an hour away from home, standing at the register trying to pay for these shirts, and have no money, no bank card, and the store won't accept check!! ARG!!

To make matters worse, I had forgotten to eat breakfast, and I get rather shaky and weak if I forget to eat, something that's only just started happening after I quit smoking.. strange...

So I have to find a pay phone, because I am still living back in the previous century and do not own a cell phone yet. I call Jay at work to see if he has my card, nope, he doesn't. So I go home to look for it there. He left it in the pocket of the jeans he wore that day! Sheesh!

So now I don't want to go all the way back to Sam's, it's so far out of the way. I go straight to Walmart instead. I still hadn't eaten, so was not feeling well, which meant I wasn't thinking straight either, and ended up not getting quite a few important things, including a cake for Aydan's birthday which is Monday!!

I did pick up Jay's Father's Day presents though. He'll be getting a little portable charcoal grill. He's been asking for one ever since we went on a picnic a few weeks back. We have a gas grill (that's dying) but food tastes so different cooked on charcoal. To go with it I got him some burgers to cook on the grill Sunday. I had to go back to get the Charcoal!

I also picked up Aydan's birthday presents. A Thomas the Train toy, a Curious George outfit, and a Wall-E book. That's a typical birthday in our house, a toy, an outfit, and a book. We won't be doing a big party, just us. I gave up parties back in November when I spent $150 to rent a community center and pool for the twins birthday and only 3 kids showed up out of the 10 we invited, and we didn't even get any RSVP's. We were so disappointed and I swore it would be nothing but family parties from that point on!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Child Support... GRR


As is typical for us, our bank account was seriously overdrawn since Sunday when I spent $40 we didn't have to go to Bingo.

So yesterday I sign into the bank account website to check on the balance, which of course should still say "Severely Negative" due to the overdraw and then the Insufficient Funds Charge.

Instead it shows we have $76! First off, we received a refund from Disney Movie Club. We joined it forever ago, and of course we're supposed to deny that featured selection every month. I forgot to deny it in May, so they sent us 2 Blu-Ray movies and charged us $50 for them. I returned them once they arrived, and that money found it's way back into the account yesterday.

On top of that, we also received a child support check from Javier's bio-dad. This man is ordered to pay a whopping $50 a month, and I rarely ever see it! We brought him into court when Javy was about 6 or 7, at the time I didn't even want his money, I just wanted to be able to find him to make it easier on us when Jay adopted Javy. Then we find out it costs about $1,000 to hire an adoption lawyer, so I asked Javy's father for that money... yeah right, keep dreaming!

So, for awhile the $50 was coming like clock work, but then a couple years ago he started missing a bunch of payments, most especially in the winter. He tried to make up for it in the summer by sending double payments and sending them more often, but even that has slowed down now. Last summer I received a bunch of payments that were only $30 a piece or less, then nothing until April. I went down to the Child Support office in April to complain, and a couple weeks later there was $100. Then nothing.

So last week I call Child Support again and they tell me I'll have to go file some grievance or something, which is all sorts of problematic because Javy's father lives in Florida while I'm in New York state, so who knows what's going to happen with that. So basically it appears as if there's nothing at all I can do but sit around and hold my breath to see if I ever get another payment.

I guess we just lucked out yesterday with the $100 child support payment.

Now what to do with the money? Father's day is this weekend, and I really want to get my husband a charcoal grill. Aydan is turning 3 on Monday, so I'll need to buy him some presents. Of course we have bills to pay, friends that we borrowed money from that we'll have to pay back, and we haven't made a payment on our bankruptcy in a couple months. We also have some car repairs we need to make. Choices choices...

So what did we end up doing?? Having lunch at Olive Garden! Will we ever learn?

Jay promises he's getting a bonus this weekend which is typically an extra 2 or 3 hundred dollars. Man I hope so, otherwise we won't afford all our bills.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jay's Day Off


Today is Wednesday, and it's Jay's day off. Thanks to the wonderful job he has, he always gets strange days off, it's not always Saturday and Sunday like your average 9-5 job.

He does always get Sundays off, because his store is closed on Sunday. That usually ends up being our "family day" because the kids are home too. He'll let me sleep in on Sunday morning and he and the kids will play video games, then once I wake up we begin thinking about what we'll do that day. Sometimes it's as simple as going to a playground for an hour or two, or sometimes we'll go for a hike or a walk, or we'll drive for an hour to visit a zoo we don't get to see that often...

His other day off is during the week, and typically it's Wednesday, although it can change and be any other day too. On his weekday off I try to let him sleep in. We don't normally have any other plans that day, especially not now because the kids are still in school (this is their last full week) and we're so broke. If we had money we might go to lunch, or go walk around Walmart. If it were nice out we might go for a walk, or take the youngest 2 to a playground. Or we might just stay at home and relax, him playing his video games while I'm trying to keep myself occupied.

The day usually starts with me taking bets as to how long Jay will sleep. I normally give up and wake him up around 10 or 11, even though I spend every moment up until that point swearing I'm going to see how long he'd be able to sleep for if I didn't wake him. There was once I didn't give up until 1pm. He'd probably sleep around the clock if I let him.

Once he's awake, it's pretty much "Mommy Off Duty". He'll cook dinner that evening, unless I insist it's something I must do myself. He'll usually do the dishes too, unless I get tired of waiting for him to get around to them and do them myself, in which case he'll finally offer to do them just as soon as I've gotten them started. He'll also handle the children for me that day, or more like wait for me to tell him "Mathieu is ready for his nap... Aydan has to potty... Tell the twins to stop doing that.. Javy needs another lecture... Sounds like Mathieu is up from his nap...".

I've been told mine isn't the only husband who behaves this way, I guess this is what boys learn in school. You remember when us girls were brought into a separate room and learned all about how some day we'd have an 8 pound screaming miracle ripped from our lower abdomen? Well I bet at that moment the boys were learning "If you put off doing the dishes long enough, she'll get tired of waiting and do them herself! And now for your first practice lesson, 'How to not hear nagging'"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bingo


I did a pretty foolish thing last night, but I don't regret it at all.

As I'd pointed out in a previous post, things are very tight this week. It should be fine by next week, we're back to a normal size paycheck and our large bills are out of the way. But this week, it's tight. So tight in fact, that we had to scrounge $4 in change to deposit into the account so as not to overdraw by paying our power bill.

Well, that was before I realized my son was in desperate need of shoes! His toes were literally coming out of his sneakers. So, we decided we'd just have to overdraw the account to get the boy a pair of shoes, and that's what we did.

I was in an absolutely terrible mood all day. I'm not sure if it was stress from the financial situation, or maybe just your regular, everyday, mom of 5 kind of stress. I was snapping at the kids and giving Jay an attitude. Finally he tells me I need to get away for awhile. So we begin the quest of trying to find a bingo hall open on Sundays. I took $40 out of the already overdrawn account. I drove half an hour to pick up my mother who doesn't drive, then went about 45 minutes in the other direction to get to the only bingo hall I found that's open Sundays.

It had been years since I'd been to bingo, but I really liked this place. The prizes for most games were at least $100, so if I had won, I could have gotten my money back even if I'd had to split it 2 ways. There was a 50/50 where the prize was $300, then a 70/30 where the prize was $800. Both were won by a single person!

I was really hoping for some sort of win so that I could replace the money we spent from the bank account. Alas, I didn't win a dime. But hey, it was fun, I got to get out and away from the kids for a few hours, which is something I haven't been able to do in a very long time, and my mom even treated to a Tim Horton's Iced Capp! All in all, it was a good night.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whacky Library Hours!


My kids absolutely love to read, and this is definitely a blessing. They do own plenty of books, but of course they've read these books dozens of times already. So naturally, we tend to visit the library quite often. Not only can the kids get new and interesting reading material, I can also pick out some movies to watch. Watching movies is one of the family's hobbies, and what better way to do it than for free!

Well, in order to do that, you'd have to catch the library during the few hours that it's actually open!! Here are the hours for my nearest public library:

Monday: 1:30 - 8:00 PM
Tuesday: 1:30 - 5:30 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday: 1:30 - 6:00 PM
Friday: 1:30 - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 12:00 - 4:00 PM
Closed Sunday

Talk about confusing! You'd think the very least they could do is have the same hours every weekday so the community doesn't have to go looking it up every time they think about stopping in.

I do realize there've been some terrible budget cuts lately, and the library is definitely suffering from it, but I don't think cutting the hours will help. I personally was quite upset when I saw that the library was closed when I expected it to be open. I left the house specifically to visit the library, and could not. That was actually the second time it happened. Perhaps those hours are not convenient for some people. I just think these cuts are going to cause the library to lose patrons.

One of my hobbies...

Stay at home moms need to have a hobby. Stay at home moms who are broke like to find ways to save the most money, or earn some extra money, or find little ways to help their family out.

To me, saving money, earning money, and finding little ways to help my family is one of my hobbies. I've spent about a year actively searching the internet for any sort of money saving or earning opportunity. Mostly what I found was a bunch of scams!

However, I do have a few sites I trust to help me out. One such site is called Quick Rewards. I've recently joined it, and absolutely love it thus far. It's technically a money earning site. You click on links and earn a penny, things like that. But this site also pays you a penny each time you print and redeem a grocery coupon through their website! These are the same coupons you find on other websites (I mean literally, I went to my favorite money saving website that offers coupons and freebies, and these were the same exact coupons!), but these coupons are practically paying you to use them!

To recieve the penny you're paid for redeeming coupons, you must have a Paypal account, which is free to set up. (It will also have to be verified using either a bank account or credit card.) Your money will accumulate on the QuickRewards website until you withdraw it to your Paypal account. There is no minimum withdrawal, which means you can request $0.50 if you want to, or less even.

I joined this site just about a week ago, and already I have $0.47. Some of that is from coupons, some is from clicking links on their main page, some is from clicking ads in my e-mail. I know it's not much, but it's 50 cents for using my computer which I'm already doing, and clicking these links or ads only takes a few seconds of my time. It's a few pennies for using coupons which I'm going to use anyways, I've printed these same coupons from another website and gotten nothing for it!!

I say, every little bit helps!

Click below to join QuickRewards:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

When it rains...


We've been in a bit of financial trouble lately, which is completely our own fault. We're impulse buyers! We see something we want, we'll buy it regardless of the consequences. We're worse about it when it comes to food!

We like to go out whenever hubby has the day off. We're usually really cheap about our entertainment. A lot of times we'll just find a playground and play for a couple hours with the kids. We love to walk, so we'll find a park to walk around, or just a random neighborhood and we'll just look at the houses. We have a membership to the zoo and get in for free (as long as we go twice, we've paid for our membership). So our family entertainment is never very expensive.

But when we've been out all day, the last thing we want to do is go home to cook something! We start thinking about what we have at home to cook for dinner.. "Well, we can spend 3 hours cooking a roast, or we can microwave some chicken nuggets in 5 minutes.." The nuggets don't sound appetizing, and we're too hungry to wait for the roast. So, we opt to eat out.

For most families that's not a huge problem, but I have a large family! Javier is too old to eat off the kid menu, and Aydan and Mathieu are getting older and both need their own meal too. Add in the cost of sodas for all of us, and normally we'll get an appetizer or two because we're already so hungry. Our dinner can cost anywhere between $40 and $100 depending on where we go!

No big deal if we're going out every once in awhile when we have the extra cash, right? Yeah, but this tends to be a weekly occurrence for us, regardless of what bills may be due, or even how much is in our bank account.

Needless to say, we've gotten ourselves in hot water plenty of times by overdrawing the bank account, not having enough to pay certain bills or buy things we need. Up until a few months ago it was okay though, we had Jay's parents to bail us out. They owned the house we lived in and we paid them rent, so if things got too tight, we'd just make up an excuse and not pay them. We put off other bills too. In December we deferred our power bill payment in order to buy presents for the kids. So instead of paying it all then and there we would make $10 payments each month, but we'd have to pay on time or we'd face being shut off.

Now all of that is coming to bite us in the butt!

We no longer live in his parent's house, and don't even speak to them anymore, so we don't have them to bail us out when we get into tight situations. We're still spending our money instead of saving it for our bills. Last week we had to pay our rent, which is more than 3/4 of Jay's weekly paycheck. With no money saved towards it, we were hurting.

Unfortunately we have an unusually high power bill to pay this week due to some mistakes we've previously made. We have that deferred December payment, and we never paid for March either because that was the month we moved. It only just now caught up and came onto our new bill for the new place.

We've known about this power bill for at least a month, yet anytime we had money we planned to save, we'd spend it. So basically, after that's paid and all is said and done, we'll have maybe a quarter of our grocery budget this week, which I could possibly make work if I'd been able to spend my usual amount for the past 2 weeks, which I haven't been able to do!

We are hurting!

To make matters worse, we went out yesterday to pick up some videos. Thank goodness for our Blockbuster.com account. $20 a month for unlimited movie rentals and we get 5 trade ins per month as well. No matter how broke we are, we'll always have movies to watch! As a family we watch probably 2 a week. Jay and I alone will watch 3-4 a week.

So, we head out to Blockbuster and the library yesterday, and my tire has a huge bolt in it and the air is leaking! Arg!! We brought the car to Dunn Tire, and they wouldn't plug it because the tread on the tires is below the legal amount. Basically I shouldn't be driving on these tires. It seems hopeless. It looks like I'll have to use Jay's car in order to go anywhere, and his car has plenty of it's own issues, including the brakes! He thinks his master cylinder is going, or perhaps he just has air in the brake lines. Either way, every so often the pedal will go all the way to the floor without actually applying the brakes. Scary!

So, here we're faced with more bills than we can afford, less food than it takes to feed us, and car repairs that may never get done. When it rains, it pours!!

I personally am not that worried. That's how I am. I've been in worse situations, and I know we'll survive this one. I look at it as a life lesson. We knew when we moved out of the in-laws place that we'd have to pay closer attention to our spending, because we couldn't afford to not pay our bills. But we got lazy and foolish and spent the money anyways. Now we're paying for those mistakes, and hopefully learning our lesson once and for all!

Jay is definitely stressed about the situation. He hasn't been able to think about anything else, he's not sleeping very well, and he's snapping over minuscule things. He had yesterday off and it wasn't very pleasant around this house. Thankfully he's back to work today, and normally he smokes a bit while he's at work, so I hope he's in a slightly better mood when he gets home.

As for me, I have to make a few phone calls to some food banks today... something I haven't had to do in years!

Monday, June 8, 2009

This is My Life


Starting a blog really isn't as easy as I thought it would be. At first I thought some background information about myself would be helpful to understand who I am and where I'm coming from... but then there's the question of who's going to see that, and who's going to have hurt feelings over it.

Basically, my life has had ups and downs. People have came and went. Some of them came and went in good ways, others not so good.

I could get into it all, but then I'm possibly hurting people's feelings, or saying things about others (although true) that they may not want me to be publicly discussing.

So let me start with life as I know it...

I'm a stay at home mom of 5. I've been happily married for over 6 years. My children are: Javier, age 12; Tyler and Tristan (otherwise known as "the twins") age 6; Aydan, age 3 (in a couple weeks); and Mathieu is 16 months.

My husband works about 50 hours a week (usually late hours until 9pm) at a place called Aaron's Sales and Lease. It's a rent to own store. He's the CAM (Customer Accounts Manager), basically if you don't pay your bill on time, he's the guy who knocks on your door to take your stuff back! It pays well, but with trying to raise 5 kids, his income just isn't enough.

For the most part I have a great life, although I do have to remind myself of that often. I have a tendency to take things for granted, and I rarely count my blessings until for some reason they're thrown in my face.

Like most stressed out moms, I have days where I wish things could be different. Some days I miss the way my life was before I got married, back when I was single and free to do what I pleased. But then I know how much I'd miss my family, I couldn't give them up for the world. (Every mom feels this way sometimes, right??)

I didn't exactly mean to have 5 kids.. most of them just sort of happened. Javier was born the day after my 17th birthday. His bio-dad (otherwise known as sperm donor) is completely non-existent, never has been. The best we hope from him is our whopping $50 a month child support which hasn't come in over a year at this point... but that's a whole other story...

The twins were sort of planned, but obviously I didn't plan on having twins. I was hoping for just 1 child. They were supposed to be my last. I was even scheduled for a tubal, but my health insurance cancelled on me and I never got the procedure.

Precautions were taken, naturally, but somehow I ended up pregnant with Aydan anyways. Needless to say I wasn't exactly thrilled at first, but the moment I laid eyes on him I couldn't imagine life without him.

While pregnant with Aydan I somehow manipulated my husband to get a vasectomy. Long story short.. it didn't work. 10 months after Aydan was born I found out I was pregnant again, and then we had Mathieu.

We're praying we don't end up with any more surprises! Maybe one day I'll share the story about how I had to choose between having my gall bladder removed or having my tubes tied, and why I chose the gall bladder removal.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I was meant to have this large family even though sometimes I truly don't believe I'm worthy of them, and I certainly don't think I'm always capable of handling them. For some reason it's meant to be this way, and I've come to accept that (what choice do I have?)

To know about my personality, there's a song: "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks, that pretty much describes me to a T, word for word.

I have many interests, and they always change on a daily basis. I go through phases where I never want to be indoors at all, then I'll go through a phase where I won't get out of bed. I go through cooking phases and wouldn't be caught dead actually buying bread because I'd rather make it, then a week later the kids are lucky if they get peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. These "phases" as I call them can change in an instant. Sometimes they last for a couple of weeks, sometimes they only last a day.

I may seem pretty outgoing, but in actuality I'm shy, reserved, and rather insecure until you get to know me. Once I'm comfortable around you I will not hold back, and this is basically what you get (because of course I'm comfortable on the Internet where I am not aware if you pass judgement). Then you'll notice is that I love to talk, and sometimes have trouble shutting up (which is why a blog is such a wonderful idea!).

I guess if there's anything else you need to know, you'll learn about it in time!

Javier in a Nutshell


Javier just turned 12. He's finishing up 6th grade right now. He's a sports nut, there really isn't a sport he doesn't like, and he's yet to find a sport he isn't good at, and anyone who's ever seen him play will tell you the same thing. His coaches adore him, and right now his biggest concern is which professional football team he wants to play for (Giants!), but his coaches think he's more suited for soccer. Too bad soccer isn't as popular in the U.S. as it is in most other countries.

Aside from his athleticism, there's really not much more to Javy. He likes to read, and does spend most of his free time doing so, but his grades in school are terrible! If he doesn't get an athletic scholarship to a great college it will be because he couldn't keep a minimum grade point average in high school in order to remain on his teams! He is basically doing the bare minimum when it comes to school work, even though he's been warned and lectured until I'm blue in the face. I swear I could yell at him until his ears bled and my throat exploded (we've come close to that a few times)but he still wouldn't bring those grades up at all. I know he can do better, he's not stupid. He just doesn't want to do the work. He'll lie, cheat, and steal to get out of doing homework (he's literally done all 3). Sometimes the lengths he goes to in order to get out of doing something take more time and energy than it would to just do it, but somehow that's what he prefers to do. When he was younger I'd insist on checking his homework, and I was constantly appalled at how terrible it was, so I'd make him do the entire assignment from scratch. He'd bring it back worse than the first time. I'd tell him we'd keep this up all night if he didn't do it correctly, and sure enough, we did. Over and over he'd bring back something worse than the previous.

Thankfully now in middle school he has study halls, and he also has a free period at the end of the school day in which he is supposed to complete his homework before he comes home. Now I don't even bother to check it anymore, I would just end up with a headache. I do get phone calls now and then telling me he hasn't turned in assignments or that things were done poorly, even for his standards. So he'll get his lecture and punishment, and we move on. No more stress and agony, at least not on my part!

This has basically been an ongoing problem since day 1 with Javy. His preschool teacher had a son with a learning disability, and she was certain Javy had one too. She got him tested, and it came back borderline. He got some speech therapy that year to help with his vocabulary and comprehension.

In Kindergarten I told the school of the tests the preschool ran. I tried to get more help for him. They told me that since he wasn't getting failing grades, there was nothing they could do. Same thing in first and second grade. In third grade we moved to a new school district and he did begin getting some help, but then we moved again and we started from scratch in the new school district.

Along the way I'd tried to get him tested for ADHD. My brother had it, and I saw some similarities between Javy and my brother. However getting him tested was easier said than done. One doctor told me it would cost $600 for the testing. Another would want to see him weekly at $75 a visit. I held out hope that the school would eventually do something and I continued to hound them explaining why he needed the help. Still I got nothing.

Finally when he was in 5th grade we brought him to a new doctor who told us he probably has a learning disability, and that the school should test for that. I was also told by various people in the school district that if you ask for your child to be tested for LD, they have to do it, by law. So, I asked. His teacher promised me he'd look into it.

In our district, the help a child would receive from school (what we used to call Special Ed) is called AIS. I forget what it stands for. Well, I spoke to the math AIS teacher at Javy's school, and she went about explaining to me how difficult the laws are set up, and how a child would literally need to be mentally handicapped in order to get any sort of AIS help. In order to get help a child would have to still not understand a topic after being taught the same topic for about 15 weeks straight. Honestly I think even kids with mental disabilities can pick up on something after 15 weeks of the same thing!! Really!

So, thanks to this idiotic "No Child Left Behind Act", my child is actually being left behind!!