Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What was I so worried about??

So earlier this month I had my appt with the fertility dr to find out I needed surgery. Between then and now I've had a few mini melt downs, but overall I have felt good about having this surgery done. Today I had my laproscopy (polyposcopy) surgery. Basically just had a laproscope go up into the uterus and locate the polyp (much like a skin tag, but on the inside of the body) and then they snip it off. No biggie. The worst part...getting the I.V. The staff and nurses at Canyon Springs Surgery Center were fabulous- and the nurse who did the I.V. was spot on. I just wish I could get through that without the feeling of passing out. I even have them lay me back and I still get all pale and cold sweats. Rough. Pretty sure I gave Blake THE most pathetic look in my arsenal of faces!!

But I loved when I had the anesthesia...the lovely anesthesiologist called it "liquid courage"...I like that thought. I've had many surgeries in my life and have never had issues with having anesthesia (luckily) so this was just another walk in the park. I was in and out of the hospital in 2 hours so I was one happy camper. Thankfully Blake's mom watched Jovie in the morning and we were home by noon. I was a bit groggy still from the anesthesia plus lack of sleep (since it took FOREVER to fall asleep last night- what can I expect...night owl + nerves) so both Jovie and I took naps. So needed! Then at 5:30 (on the nose) my lovely neighbors brought us a FABULOUS dinner. I feel so blessed. And I'm just a teensy bit sore...that's it. I feel like this day couldn't have gone any better. 
I am already feeling like my plate is emptying...surgery- check. Stake choir performance- finished (and OH was it fabulous- if I do say so myself). Started on family Christmas shopping- check. Ward Christmas music- picked. Ward Christmas party music- still working on it...but close.  
I'll go ahead and say it...What was I so worried about?? 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Elf on the shelf...

This is a cute new tradition we'll be starting in our home this year...Elf on the Shelf. Blake's mom found it and ordered one for all of her kids. I'm so happy to start something fun! So the idea is that Santa sends an elf to the family and it watches the kids and reports to Santa every night if the kids were naughty or nice.  So the elf has magic to report back to Santa but hides in a new spot every night so the kids get to play hide and seek when they wake up in the morning. And the only rule is you can't touch it- or it will lose its magic. Jovie's not quite understanding it all, but I'm sure through the next year or two it'll really take off!!

It's fun because you get a book to read to your kiddos, then get to name your elf and also get an adoption certificate. So cute. Well, of course since we got Jovie's name from the girl character in the movie Elf, we decided it would only be fitting to name our elf Buddy, after the boy elf character in the movie. 
And here is the elf hiding on the advent calendar I made last year.  I didn't actually finish it by December 1st last year, but it was done in time for Christmas. And now this year and years to come I get to enjoy it...as does Buddy, our elf.

I'm pretty sure Buddy's magic will also transfer into some of the goodies getting baked this season too!!

I'm sure Buddy will find some great hiding spots in the next few weeks to come! What are your Christmas traditions?? We have too many to list.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This year...

Boy oh boy....this year really has been a tough one for me (health-wise). In January I had my first miscarriage, and then in April I had an Ectopic pregnancy (needing emergency surgery). Since then, I've been taking progesterone and trying to get pregnant, but with no luck. I feel like emotionally, I have felt really strong this entire year...up to now. I think all of the stress of church callings, Jovie getting "older" and just life in general has finally got me to a really unstable point for me emotionally. There has been a LOT of sporadic tears shed this week. Yuck, it is just gross. Well, really what set it off was my trip yesterday to my fertility doctor. I had to have the HSG test (where they inject ink into the fallopian tubes- in my case just my left one since I had to have my right one removed from the ectopic pregnancy) to see if the tube was clear- and it was! Yay.

But when I had to have the Sonohysterogram (saltwater injected into uterus and then vaginal ultrasound done) the doctor found a polyp attached to the top of the uterus. He predicted that this was why I may have miscarried in January. I guess this particular spot is where the fertilized egg tries to implant on the wall of the uterus- but if a polyp is in the way- you miscarry. So he said my chances of miscarrying in the future are extremely high unless I get it removed.

So, now I have to have ANOTHER surgery done. Ugh. Seriously. This has GOT to be the WORST possible time to have surgery. I know, I know...there is NEVER a convenient time for surgery, but this is HORRIBLE timing....

Just to spew off what's happening in my life currently-

I am the Ward Choir Director and am still in the process of choosing music for the church Christmas program- and it's in 6 WEEKS!!!

I am also a Sunday School teacher and Activity Day leader where I've got lessons to prep for every other week. (Luckily my teaching partner is helping me by teaching every week in November. Jenni is truly a saint!!)

I am directing choir practice for the ward Christmas program every Sunday for 45 minutes. 

I am singing in the Stake Christmas Program being done on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and have 2 hour practices every Sunday until the program. 

I just got called to put music together for a neighborhood Christmas Party being put on by our church...and also head a service project (toy drive) at the party. This will be on December 10. Luckily I got a committee of women to help get this project going!

Then I leave for Colorado for Christmas with all of my family on December 22 and don't return home until January 4... 

I am trying to keep Jovie happy and moving to limit the tantrums...that all seems to be going down the tubes. I think she skipped the terrible 2's and went right to 3's.

And then somewhere in between all of this I have to have surgery. Sheesh.

Is this a lot?? Maybe not compared to many other people...or who have 3+ kids...but to me, I am feeling close to topped out. It's sort of disappointing. In the past I have always felt like I can do it. Somehow I am feeling defeated. I know that at this point I really need to just focus my energy on the positive of now actually getting ANSWERS for why I haven't been able to get pregnant- and move forward. Rely on the Lord, because with Him I WILL get through this. And I will look back on this later and go, "what exactly was I so worried about? "

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this verse of scripture kept popping out at me...

Articles of Faith 1:13

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Yes, I hope to endure ALL things.

Monday, October 31, 2011

So spooooooooky...

So back in the summer when we were reading every Clifford the Big Red Dog book we had to Jovie, once reading the Cliffords Halloween book...the verdict had been made. Jovie WANTED to dress up like a ghost for Halloween, just like Clifford. Obnoxious...sort of. But kind of awesome too. It kind of makes me proud that she doesn't want to be a princess, like every other 3 year old. (Don't worry if that is what your 3 year old girl is going to be, because chances are, that will be her costume NEXT year!! Besides, princesses are TOO cute!) So, trying to figure out HOW to do a cute ghost costume was going to be a trick (trick... get it?? I'm lame) I didn't just want to throw a white sheet over her head and cut out eye holes...I'm a little classier than that...but just a little. My friend Susan recommended making a white tutu and putting felt black eyes and mouth onto a white shirt. Sounds good to me. I constructed it all in one day and here it is...

Ghost (but not a "spooky" ghost, a "friendly" ghost)

And of course this year I had several places to dress up so I HAD to think of something clever...and one night when I couldn't fall asleep, I thought of this...

Did you figure it out?? No? (I'll give you a hint...it's NOT from a book or movie)

Break it down....

Look from the neck down...what is it?

Then the neck up? 

Put it together... Got it??!!!! 
[_      _]

A Knight (night) Owl.... haha, get it??

(I'd like to think it was clever, but you really have to know ME to know that I'm a late night kinda gal for this to really make sense. Regardless it was fun to make the mask- I've got the hot glue burn mark to prove it- make the shield and bedazzle the foam sword. And then throw together a couple of clothing items I already had! All in all, a success in my book)

I know, I just CAN'T do something "normal"... hence the last several Halloweens
("Seeds of the Tree of Souls" from movie Avatar, the "things" that Calvin (& Hobbs) pees on, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, a Devil'd Egg, etc.)

Other fun things we did on Halloween included:

Our church put on a neighborhood Halloween party- IT WAS HUGE! There were about 1000 people there, but SO much fun! And yes, we lost Jovie...multiple times.
Here is one of Jovie's pals from nursery Gavin...

We also carved pumpkins...


Went to "The Groves" Halloween block party (Blake's parent's neighborhood does this every year)

Jax, Parker, Davis and Jovie "smiling"

And Jovie's first year Trick or Treating!!! 

Jovie LOVED the concept of trick or treating, but started getting scared with the spooky noises and screams. The last picture was so funny- when Jovie knocked on the door, the witch started this really spooky cackle and talked and lit up and Jovie got so scared she dropped her pail and started back peddling away from the house- it was so funny, but kinda sad too.  After that point we were really cautious about the houses we chose to visit, and Jovie too was EXTREMELY cautious! She would say "house scary noises??" and we'd have to reassure her that it wasn't scary. Every time we tried to get her to be done Trick or Treating she'd cry that she wanted to do more, but then would be scared to go up to the door. 
Such a funny kid. I'm hoping next year will be easier! Happy Halloween!

Oh, and here's a little throw back to my childhood!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin patchin' it...

This year we went to Vertuccio Farms in Gilbert, AZ for some fall fun and I thought it was quite lovely. I didn't mind spending $7/ adult since kids were free. Jovie loved the freedom of running from one thing to the next and it wasn't so crowded that we couldn't keep track of her- and that's quite miraculous!

 There were a plethora of animals to see...Jovie LOVES animals...

This was right after Jovie moooooooooed with gusto!
 She especially loves the "SHickens"...and I wouldn't mind getting a few myself...

 Jovie liked the sweet little donkey...
 And Daddy doing what Daddy does best ;)...he was photo documenting on Instagram. 

 Jovie LOVED the little train ride...

She even milked a (wooden) cow...
 Jovie LOVED riding on the pedal cars with Daddy...
 The sky at dusk was looming...it down poured about 5 minutes after this shot...
 "Dis wayyyyyy"...evidently she has her mothers keen sense of direction :)...
 "So tall"....Jovie loved the corn maze...

 Jovie measured right in at 41 inches tall!
 We had a great time hanging out at Vertuccio Farms...unfortunately it started pouring after we finished the corn maze so we didn't get to pick out any pumpkins...not a big deal though. We can always go back and get one later!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Walgreens 10/03/11 haul...

Not a huge haul today...made some small errors (yes, it does happen) and overall, still did pretty great.

3- Mars brand fun size candy $2.99 --> $1.83 ea. (I didn't calculate this right- hence why it is so expensive)
3- Hershey's brand fun size candy $2.99 --> $2.00 ea. (another one I screwed up on)
4- Nature Valley Granola Bars 6 pk $3.99 --> $1.12 ea.
8- Nivea Lip Care $3.99 --> $.50 ea. (I freakin LOVE this stuff- and I use it A TON!)
1- Cepacol Throat Lozenges- $4.99 --> FREE!!
2- Cold Calm 60 ct. $9.99 --> FREE!!
2- Kleenex Cool Touch Tissues 50 ct $2.99 --> $.49 ea.
1- Bengay Pain Relief 4 oz. $9.49 --> $.99

These items I used for filler items since I had a BOAT LOAD of Register Rewards from last week:
6- Halloween activity books/pads $.69 --> $.33 ea.

RETAIL: $110.68
SPENT: $23.96
SAVED: $86.72


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Walgreens 09/26/11 and 10/01/11 haul...

This week was a doozy!!! Holy smokes I got some great deals and did the best I've ever done. Hopefully I didn't overdo it and have more Register Rewards than I can chew on for the next 2 weeks! 
(I got $98 in Register Rewards = cash cash cash!!)

So I decided to go on Monday- they had SOME of the things I wanted, but not all...so I headed back today to maximize my savings (This is usually a no-no for me- I usually just leave it at one trip a week, but I was feeling lucky!)

Here's the combined haul total:

10- Hershey bars $1.19 --> $.30 ea.
4- Colgate Optic White toothpaste 4 oz. $4.50 --> $1.02 MONEYMAKER ea.!! (Plus, on Saturday they gave out free pocket sized mirrors for each tube of toothpaste bought= 4 FREE mirrors!)
8- W Maxi Pads 24 ct $3.50 --> $.50 MONEYMAKER ea.!!
4- Zantac Acid Reducer 24 ct $9.99 --> $.99 ea. (One box even came with an additional 8 pills!)
9- Zarbee's Cough & Sleep Drink 6 pk $7.49 --> $.55 MONEYMAKER ea.!!
3- Windex Multi-surface 26 oz. $4.49 --> $1.32 ea.
6- Remington 5 Blade Razors (+3 bonus cartridges in each) $5.99 --> FREE!!

RETAIL: $214.90
SPENT --> EARNED: $.08
SAVED: $214.98

SAVED: 101%

This is a first for me!!! Coming out of WAGS making money on the WHOLE TRIP(s)! Needless to say, I was extremely giddy today. I love firsts...I hope it happens again because it was worth the good mood!! :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walgreens 9/19/11 haul...

Got some nice deals this week- FREE is ALWAYS good!

I think the ticket to making couponing successful is ditching brand loyalty to MOST things (oh, believe me- I am still very particular about using Nivea (and Nivea only) lotion, for example. But I have become much less picky about other products and I have been very surprised when I try something new and like it just as much (if not more) than my previously preferred brand. I'm turning new leaves, people!! So here's what I hauled in today!

3- Campbell's Soup 10.75 oz $1.19 --> $.65 ea.
3- Infusium 23 hair products $7.99 --> $1.99 ea.
2- Hyland's Nighttime Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids 4 oz. $7.99 --> FREE
4- Blistex Cold & Allergy Lip Soother $2.99 --> FREE
4- Gain Dish Liquid 11 oz. $1.99 --> $.49 ea.
2- Ritz Crackerfuls $3.49 --> $1.25 ea.

Retail Cost $69. 31
Amount Paid $12.40
Amount Saved $56.97


Monday, September 5, 2011

Walgreens 9/05/11 haul...

Even though I did this haul on Labor Day- it felt too easy to be work. The planning is always the work, and the shopping is the challenge/fun. Here's what I hauled in today...

5- Electrosol Finish Dishwashing Tabs (20 ct) $4.99 --> $1.74 ea.
8- Herbal Essences Hair Spray $3.99 --> $1.50 ea.
4- Mitchum Antiperspirant $3.99 --> FREE
4- Oral-B Pro-Health Toothbrush $4.99 --> $.99 ea.
(NOT PICTURED) 2- Pure Drinking Water (24 ct) $2.69 --> $2.19 ea.

Not a huge haul- but pretty decent. When deciding whether or not to get an item I will usually see if I am saving about 70% (ish) on the item. If I am, then that usually dictates whether or not I get it. To figure out the math you take the $ amount saved / (divided by) the retail cost = % saved. (For example: Oral-B toothbrush $4 saved / $4.99 retail cost = .80160321 or rounded to 80%) The waters weren't a huge discount, but I needed filler items in order to use my Register Rewards from previous weeks...and we needed bottled water...so I got some. 

What I spent: $32.10
Retail Cost: $98.40
SAVED: $66.30

67 % SAVED!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Walgreens 8/29/11 haul...

So this wasn't life changing or anything- but it was nice to have a small break from the many big weeks I've been having! Plus, my out-of-pocket expenses are getting lower and I'm really utilizing my Register Rewards! It also gave me a chance to bring along my friend Kate and teach her the ropes of Walgreens couponing! I'd like to say it was successful for both of us! 

So here's what I hauled in today:

3 - Sobe Lifewater 20 oz. $.89 --> $.39 each
8 - M&M's 12.6 oz bags $2.99 --> $.75 each
2 - Welch's Grape Jelly 32 oz $2.99 --> $1.15 each
8- Wexford 2-pocket folders $.69 --> $.17 each (these were my filler items in order to use previous Register Rewards from past weeks!)

Spent: $10.83
Retail Cost: $38.09
Saved: $27.26


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The BIG 3!!

 Celebrating 3 years of birthdays...

"I'M THREE"... "TANGLED PARTY"... "a Wyatt, Kate, Eli, Cori, Indi, Isaiah, Jaime, Jason, Jax, Parker, Dai Dai, Chelsea, Reggie, Grammie, Grandpa"....(and the list goes on- all people invited to the party), "CUPCAKES"..."EUGENE"..."BABY 'PUNZEL"... "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU---whoooooo" (blowing out the candles)...all things that came from Jovie's mouth this weekend! We've been talking about her "Tangled Party" for weeks and she has been about to jump out of her skin with excitement!

I was lucky enough to be in Colorado in May to celebrate my niece Callia's 5th birthday that my sister Katy had thrown her (and her other daughter as well). Of course it was a Tangled Birthday party!! At this point in time it was Jovie's most watched and LOVED movie. After talking it over, Katy decided to share the love and give me all of her decorations from the party that she had leftover. I TOTALLY scored! One less thing for me to do when it was party time!


My sister had found a blog (supermommomments.com) that had tons of ideas that had printables and other GREAT resources! They were a huge help when I went to get ideas for the party! I used their ideas for: sun banners, tangled hair decor, jello boats, and silk flower cupcakes)

Sun Banners: One of my favorite parts in the movie is when Rapunzel goes to the town during the festival. Here were some printables for the banners! I just roped them onto yellow yarn, and voila- beautiful hanging decor!

Rapunzel's Hair: What's a Tangled party WITHOUT her hair? I saw the idea here, but decided to improvise and have the hair form a "3" for her age.   

Tangled Tower: I found many beautiful cake towers, but this year I just didn't want to make a complicated cake (since last year was plenty difficult). I DID find a fun craft to make a Tangled Tower that was one that could be used as a decoration later (if I wanted to go that route). It was actually really fun to make! (Plus all the hair that draped through the house started from inside the tower- of course!

Jovie's Party Crown: Found this cute template here, although I really should have made it bigger to be able to fit all the way around her head in order to stay in place better! Isn't it the cutest when kids sing Happy Birthday to themselves? :)

Lanterns: You can't have a Tangled party WITHOUT lanterns! I found some on clearance at Target and decided to hand paint them. They turned out great, but it really was quite an undertaking! Many hours of work but the effect was awesome! Plus, they looked snazzy all lit up or even without the lights on!


Grape Koolaid and Pink Lemonade: They looked pretty and tasted fantastic. Not sure why I've been on strike from grape flavored things in the past...I may just have a new favorite!

Cupcakes: I just did confetti cake and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting tinted green (to look like grass) with a silk flower put on top for a simple decoration! They looked and tasted divine!

Jello Boats: I found the idea here! They turned out really cute and ALL were eaten!

Obviously, we had other food as well (Mexican Caviar & chips, Berry Salad, Broccoli Salad, Egg Salad Sandwiches and heart-shaped PB & J's for the kids) and I even tucked in a few "magic golden flowers" throughout the decor (I just found a silk yellow lily and put it in a clear bowl and put some electric tea lights underneath so they glowed!)


Foam Crafts: For Jovie's last birthday we did some of the foam crafts and found some princess ones at Michaels so that occupied many of the kids! Such a fun activity!

Tangled Printable Activity Packets: Found these little gems here and Jovie LOVES coloring!

Pin the pan on Flynn: My sister already printed out the Flynn Rider poster (but here it is)...

and had printed out these frying pans to pin on Flynn's nose. 
Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn't get to do this!

'Punzel's Piñata: Found one in purple/pink colors at Walmart, and once broken each 
spiky end acted as a princess hat! (As seen in picture above!)

Flynn's Arrow Toss: (In Tangled Flynn used arrows to climb the tower!) Found the idea here and found the tutorial to sew some arrows from fabric of my choice. I just laid out a few buckets and had the kids toss their arrows into the buckets. Then I let each of the kids choose an arrow to take home as a party favor!

I liked Wyatt's interpretation of the game! Why not throw the arrows at Flynn? The guards started it!

Party Favors:

I used a white paper sack and glued on a sun pennant that had each child's name on it! It was helpful to put their name on it so that I could put their candy from the piñata and the arrows they chose in the right bag!

Tower Bookmark: Found this cute bookmark here!

Arrow: As mentioned above (Flynn's Arrow Toss). After making 15 of these my fingers were arthritic and crippled. I really need an understudy to do the EXTRA crafty stuff that I force myself to complete, but wish I never would have seen the idea in the first place. This is just one example of how I bite off more than I can chew.

Rapunzel's Paints: Bought some watercolors and attached this image.

Stickers: Found some Tangled themed stickers at Walmart.

Candy: The kids were each able to put the candy from the piñata in their party bags to munch on later!

We just had a great time- despite the chaos that comes with a birthday party including 20 adults and 15 children indoors! At one point you couldn't even see the floor in the toy room!! Ahhhh.

But I was happy to get together with friends and family to celebrate the love we share for our sweet little Jovie girl!

And here were some of the great gifts Jovie received...Thank you to everyone- your gifts more than Jovie could've ever wished for! We are surrounded by great people!

I've never seen a child undress more quickly than when Jovie laid eyes on that dress! Thanks Chelsea and Rajiv for the Princess Tiana dress & shoes! I will know who to blame when she kicks and screams when I ask her to put on jeans and a tshirt ;) haha. And thanks to the Grant family for the adorable necklaces and Rapunzel Barbie outfits!

The cutest finger puppets I'd ever seen- thanks Debbie and all of your Gabba craftiness!
She was ECSTATIC to get the "Eugene" doll. She doesn't like calling him Flynn. :)  
Thank you Tutu and Papa!                                           
                                                Makin' it rain money roll- courtesy of the Reeds.

(my sister and I got a Barbie motorhome when we were kids and I STILL love all things Barbie- thanks Grammie and Grandpa Kimball for this lovely gift!)

Always helping to educate- 
Blueberries for Sal, Peter Rabbit and Brain Quest from Great Grandma Evenson.

Rapunzel Barbie to complete her collection! Thanks Katy and family!

"Frying pans...who knew, right?"