Thursday, October 4, 2012

18 month Updates

Wow, it's been a long time since I've been on here...

I want to write about what Gabriel's been doing- I have been really bad about recording all the funny (and aggravating) things he does.

 He is 18 months now! He's growing like a weed! I just went through his 18 month fall/autumn clothes and got them put away. Next I'll be putting away his 12 month summer's always so sad to put his out-grown clothes away :(

So far he's got a handful of words he uses. I'm not too worried about him not having a big vocabulary because he shows amazing comprehension of what we say. He says "Hi" (his newest word and current favorite), "yes", "this", and of course "kitty" (his other favorite).  When he wants a bite of something he'll go "ahhhh" with his mouth open (mimicking what we do when we're offering him a bite of something). When he wants a drink he'll mimic the "aaahh" sound people make when they take a sip of something yummy.

Naked shopping
He is a BIG mimic! He stretches, talks on the phone, and even will pull my laptop onto his lap and sit there with his hand on the mouse (exactly how I sit with my computer a lot). When we're getting him something to eat, like a cup of yogurt, he'll follow me to the fridge, then after I pull it out he'll run over to where the spoons are kept.  When we tell him it's time to change his diaper he likes to run over to where we keep the diapers and sometimes he'll pull one out when we ask (other times he'll ignore us and other times he'll grab twenty diapers and just keep bringing them to us).

When it's bathtime I'll say "Let's go take a bath!" and he'll run over to where we hang his towel, watch me grab it, then run to the bathtub. Every time we're done I wrap him in his towel and then I sing him "Furball" (something my mom sang to us after bathtime too!) He'll then sing along as best he can, which usually is him going "Dah-Da Dah-Da.." over and over (the first few notes of the song)  Then I put his lotions on him and his diaper and when we're done he'll grab the lotions and go run and put them away, then he'll push the little basket back into it's place. It's so cute! When we're going somewhere (either to the store or just outside to play for a few minutes) I'll say "Wanna go outside?" and he'll drop whatever he's doing and runs to his basket of shoes and grab some. At first he'd just grab any two shoes, but now he's even got it to where while Mike and Alyx were visiting.  We soon discovered that Gabriel could easily climb out of their much-shorter playpen. He basically wouldn't sleep while we were there! So it was kind of a miserable night without sleep, but hanging out with the family was fun. Gabe got to ride on the ATV with me and play a lot outdoors on the farm. Any animal he sees he points to and says "kitty".  Everything is kitty: birds, dogs, deer, etc.  We'll try and tell him the right name but he'll still call it "kitty".

Yesterday we took him to the playground at the elementary school right behind our house. I was able to take a lot of good photos of him playing around. He threw a temper tantrum when we started to leave, so Josh had to carry him most of the way home or else he'd try to run back to the playground or just go "boneless" (collapse onto the ground when we're trying to lead him by the hand).  He goes boneless a lot if we're trying to get him to do something we don't want him to do.

Swinging all by himself!

I don't WANNA LEAVE!!!!
He's testing his boundaries all the time, too. He'll do things he knows we'll say NO to and do it over and over, just watching our reactions.  He's started time-outs in the last few months. Usually what gets him in time-out is when he climbs up on the TV stand and pushes the buttons on the Blu-ray player. Or he'll turn the TV off/on/off/on from the buttons on the side.  He gets a warning, and then he gets time-out.  He's still getting the concept.  We still can't leave any drinks out because the second they're left unattended he makes a beeline for them to try and take a sip. He's also fond of being very annoying by hitting the laptop keys while it's out (both while I'm on it and when it's just sitting there) and he LOVES to steal my mouse! He'll grab it and run away! Sometimes he's particularly stinky and will throw it if I come after him to retrieve it. He'll occasionally do the same thing with the remote control. He's always grabbing it and pressing buttons.

That's why his nickname is Stinkerpants. He also will lose his temper when he's trying to feed himself something, and we try to help him. He automatically thinks we're going to take it from him so he'll sometimes throw it (like a yogurt cup) and throw himself on the ground whining.  Fortunately it's not all the time so I still can get him to let me help him feed himself spoonfuls often enough. Either way, it's always a very messy undertaking.

Oh, and he's figuring out doorknobs. He can't quite turn ours yet, but the lever-handle types at my parent's and at the church he can do no problem.  He also loves to discover a door left open to an area he's not supposed to go (like the bathroom or the laundry/storage room) and he'll run out there and shut the door behind him! We have to be really careful with the bathroom door because he's figured out how to push the lock on it. The lock on the storage room, which is accessible from the kitchen-side of the door is a different style of lock but he's figured that out once and ended up locking Josh out in the storage area for a few minutes till I came in the room and realized what was going on and rescued Josh.

I can't wait until Gabriel learns/listens to "No".  He KNOWS what it means, but that sure doesn't ever stop him! In fact, the funniest thing is he'll be doing whatever naughty thing he's up to, we'll say "No", and he'll just look over at us, shake his head and repeat "No no no no" and will just continue doing whatever he's doing.  It's hard not to laugh when he does that, it's soooo cute!

He's very strong-willed, which makes it hard to "teach" him things- he'd rather try and figure something out for himself.  Sometimes when he's in the mood I can get him to point to body parts (I'm trying to teach him that and some other things when I can) but a lot of the time he'll just ignore me, presumably because he doesn't feel like doing it (I guess, at least, since I know he knows it and does it often). He'll point to his nose, his belly, his ears, and we're teaching him eyes and mouth and feet and hands.  He gets the feet and hands about half the time (or else he'll just ignore us, so its hard to say if he knows it or not)

He loves getting into the cupboards. It's not every day anymore (thank goodness) but he still does it often enough that I feel like I'm always putting pots and tupperware back in their places.  He's even figured out how to get the cupboard baby-lock off one of the cupboards!

Wow, that's a lot of writing about Gabriel...well I want to record it mostly for myself, but this way at least if anyone is interested (or bored enough) they can read about him here :)

As for me, I have been on Metformin (Glucophage) since end of July, when I was diagnosed with PCOS with Insulin Resistance. Apparently I've had this my whole life and just recently was diagnosed.  The insulin resistance is suspected to be a combination of genetic and environmental, no one really knows why. But the insulin-resistance problem causes the endocrine/hormonal disruption that leads to the symptoms of PCOS. As soon as I started the Metformin (which is called an insulin-sensitizing medication) the stubborn weight I'd put on AFTER I gave birth started coming back off! Woo hoo! As of now I've lost 22 pounds and will keep going until I get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm really glad to have this weight coming off, because I just felt SO uncomfortable being that big! I'm still not happy with my weight but am excited at the weight loss and motivated to keep going. I know I was eating extra during the first 6 or so months after Gabe's birth, but I couldn't fathom it being enough to GAIN 20 lbs! But now, with the PCOS/IR diagnosis it makes sense, because it makes your body hold onto it's fat stores for dear life, and work really hard to increase them.  So the medicine is telling my body to stop doing that and as a result it's getting itself back to normal-ish. I've been watching what I eat for quite a while, but now it's nice to have my efforts pay off. I suppose soon I'll have to start exercising to help, but I'm so out of shape it's embarrassing.  Especially since I've always been so strong and athletic. It's kind of pathetic how weak I've gotten :0

Josh is still looking for work. He earned his Bachelors Degree in August and is already working towards his Masters Degree. He expects to get that in a little over a year (I think). His major is Business, but he's also looking into doing Human Resources, and possibly minors in Psychology, Finance, Accounting. Basically he's wanting to really expand his areas of expertise so that he's a more desireable candidate in this crap economy.

Ok, that is all. For now. Stay tuned :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Expectations (and Thanks, Mom)

For some reason a topic has been on my mind. A LOT.


Expectations as a parent. As a wife. As a woman. As a member of the community.

Today the furnace stopped working suddenly. I took a catnap while Gabriel was taking his morning nap and I awoke shivering. I peeked at the thermostat and it was sixty degrees! After realizing there was nothing I could do to fix it, we set up for the landlord to arrange a repairman. When I realized that someone would be coming into my home (which for some reason already feels like an invasion) I panicked. My eyes went from the sink, overflowing with dishes, to the couch, covered in folded laundy (yes, at LEAST it was clean and folded). I started to worry about what this repairman, a perfect stranger, would think of me because my house wasn't spotless.  I did the mad last-minute rush tackling a few of the dishes, cleaning up clutter, etc. And of course the guy spent all of his time in the utility room (covered in boxes and clutter, btw) and only came in the house to adjust the thermostat.

Why did I feel the need to do this? Yes, the house wasn't in the best of shape, but it wasn't horrible, either! It was messy, but I wouldn't say it was dirty. There's a big difference for sure. No need to call the Health Department, man. There were random things on the table and counters, some old bottles sitting out, an empty soda can or two, and of course, some boxes waiting to be unpacked (I'm making progress, I swear). While writing that last sentence I noticed I don't give myself credit for the good parts- I had just vaccuumed, the laundry was done, Gabe was in a clean diaper, clean clothes and had just taken a good nap (falling asleep on his own). His toys were picked up, the trash had been emptied, the cat fed. Not that I should compare myself to others, but there are plenty of other people who do not even have the goal the get their homes in order.  How 'bout giving myself a pat on the back for caring so much that I worry too much?

Here's a little background for you. I'm gonna lay back and talk about myself now (I didn't plan on writing this, it just came to me as I typed- actually, it gave me some great insight into myself):

My childhood was a happy one, but it was also .......unpredictable. A lot of changes happened, much more than you'd want for your family. I watched my mom struggle raising me and my brothers alone. She fought for our wellbeing SO HARD. SO HARD. She was left in a position that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I was small at the time, and even though her world was falling apart I had no idea. She was THAT good at making me feel safe, protected.  All the fiancial and marital problems were threatening to destroy our family and she refused to let it do that. Unfortunately, and it's hard to say, but when I say family, I mean my brothers, me and my mom. I love my Dad, but things happened that were out of his control, and he was unable to be Dad for awhile.  My mom fought hard to save our home from foreclosure. She rented out two of the bedrooms in our four bedroom house; one to a single mother and her daughter, the other to a woman, then later a woman and I think two kids.  We were one full house for awhile. My brothers shared a room and I shared a room with my mom. I felt so special! I got to room with Mom! What was hardship she had disguised as adventure- and it became a fun adventure! How cool is that? She did her best to try to keep us in our home but it wasn't meant to be. It was probably the lowest time in her life, but she didn't give up. She didn't abandon us, leave us with grandparents and expect them to take on her load.

So, Mr. Psychiatrist, I'm sure you can see where these worries of mine come from. I am wanting to be as dedicated as my mom. She fought tooth and nail to make sure we had food, shelter, and even Christmas presents. New shoes for school, the "cool toys" that we were all too worried about having. Can I live up to that? Will Gabriel one day be able to look back at his childhood and say, "my mom loves me so much that she sacrificed, sacrificed, sacrificed."? Will he and *hopefully* future children know how much I love them and that I would do anything for them?

So all of this, plus a conversation I had with my mom yesterday have made me realize that I am doing something right, and am spending too much time worrying about what is expected of me. I had been telling my mom about how I felt like I didn't know if I was doing a good enough job in certain aspects of raising Gabe- getting him to sleep on his own, to "properly" introduce more solid foods, to make sure he's getting enough playtime, etc. I worry. I worry too dang much. And my mom was really great at making me feel better! She said something to the effect of "you know, Gabriel is such a happy, very attached child, and has consistently been at a healthy weight, so don't stress out so much about doing something wrong and realize what you've done right".

Thanks, Mom, I couldn't have said it any better.

I am going to try to focus less on other's expectations and more on what my expectations are. I want to have a "tidy" house. I want to make sure I spend quality time playing with my son wrestling and acting a fool. I don't want my attention to constantly be on something else, when maybe it should be on him. He doesn't care if the bathroom needs mopped, or trash emptied. He just wants me.

So take, that, world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Crying Game

First of all-

Happy 29th Birthday Honey!!!

I don't think you read this, but if you do, I love you!

Anyways, on to the good stuff....

Last night I read something that made me cry bawl my freakin' eyes out. I recently started following a blog called An Inch of Gray. Well, she posted this yesterday. Beware: if you click this link you will surely be crying your eyes out.

Anna, the blogger, lost her 12 year old son Jack is a freak flash-flood incident in September 2011. The rains and floods in the D.C. area were on the news a lot, and I remember hearing there were four casualties,  but I didn't really pay it much attention. Now my heart swells with grief right alongside this courageous mother. She is a beautiful writer. So the post she wrote is about what to do with her deceased son's favorite belongings: the Legos he meticulously collected, the candy he held onto instead of gobbling up. This post was a wake-up call of sorts for me. Cherish. Every single moment. Even the ones where you're fighting the urge to throw the poopy diaper at your husband because you asked him to change the baby awhile ago and he kept procrastinating and then you realize he hasn't done it so you do it yourself and find the poop is drying to baby's bottom and you could just strangle husband. Or When your baby is climbing all over you in attempts to reach/play with your laptop while you're trying to write some deep thoughts down. Even though I want to scream in frustration right now, I won't. I'm forcing myself to think of the blessing that is My Child.

Getting into trouble with the strings on the mini-blinds. The kitty was very interested.

36 weeks, my last photo before he made his early entrance

I worried for a long time that I might not be able to conceive children. Josh and I have been married since Feb 04 and I was only on the pill for 8 months of our marriage. So, no babies from 04 to 08. Then I had a miscarriage in May 08, but it actually improved things for my body. I actually started ovulating regularly. Fast forward to July 10 and discovering I'm pregnant with Gabriel. Even though it came at a very hard time in my life I wouldn't change it for the world. This kid has brought a wonderful purpose to my life. I strive to better myself for him, because he's counting on me.

Although our society belittles the job of Stay at home Mom, I feel like it is what I am supposed to do. How could I go work a menial job somewhere, crunching numbers or doing paperwork, knowing that my son is needing my love and guidance? Even though we could use the money we're making due on just one salary. If something were to happen and I had to work I would HATE it. You only have these years once- who wants to spend it doing something so unimportant?

And ever since he's come along he's done something to me. He's turned me into a softie! I used to make fun of people who cry at Hallmark commercials and while watching Bambi. People who I thought were overly emotional. I subconsciously judged them for not having enough self control to keep it all in, dammnit. That's what I did, after all.

Well, things have certainly changed...
I literally fight from tearing up whenever I tell his birth story.  I see something on TV that touches on that indescribable bond between parent and child and I stop, relate, then cry with gratitude, at all the blessings I have- my child is healthy, happy, and wonderful. And I don't know what I would do if something ever were to change. I can't imagine going through the horror of losing a child.  In the second Lord of the Rings movie, the kind remarks with tears streaming down his cheeks, "a parent should never have to bury their child" If only we could wave a magic wand.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Parenting Rules....

Before I had Gabriel (almost 10 months ago, btw!) there were a few rules of parenting that I SWORE I'd never break. So, um....I've broken some. Not all, mind you, but quite a few.
Background: Josh and I were living in Happy Valley, Utah when we got married at the super young age of 20/21. We spent the first 4 years of our marriage living there too. For those who don't know, Happy Valley is full of bleary-eyed parents with mini-vans full of kids. Lots of kids. Every place you go in that place, there's KIDS. Going to see Kill Bill at 11 o'clock at night? Yup, there's at least TWO families with children in their pajamas bouncing off the walls, all jacked up on Sour Patch Kids and Coke. Going on Date Night with your husband to a fancy restaurant (ok, to Olive Garden)? Kids, babies, and more kids. Let me just say there are more booster seats than stools at the bar.
Anyways, after witnessing so many horrific parenting faux-pas that I was sure my fallopian tubes tied themselves in silent protest (yes, Judgy McJudgerson, THAT'S why it took us 7 years of nookie to make us a baby....) I swore to myself there were certain things I would NEVER do when I had kids...let's take a look at how well that's going, shall we?

1. Never let my children run around the yard in just a diaper/underwear unless they are playing in the sprinklers. I currently have no plans on breaking this rule. But that could just be because it's 20 degrees outside. Although that doesn't stop some people....there's something oh so classy about having dirty toddlers in saggy diapers peppering your front yard. Word.
2. Never give my baby a bottle full of soda. Trust me: Eating at a Denny's at midnight (and never-you-mind what I'm doing at a Denny's at midnight) and seeing a dirty baby slouching in a highchair while "Mee-Maw" pours some of her Dr. Pepper into a bottle for baby --'cause Hey, it's free refills!-- then having said baby stare stupidly at you while gulping it down will, without a doubt scar you to the very depths of your soul. I also have not broken this one, and don't plan on it (with bottles going 'bye-bye' at 12 months, I only have a little over 2 months to go). Although Josh doesn't see what the big deal is he has respected my wishes and not done it. Probably because I would punch him in the nuts.
3. Never let your baby sleep in your bed. Because they WILL die of SIDS if you do it even once. This rule I felt very pressured to adopt when I was pregnant and reading tons of crap baby books. Of course SIDS is every parent's nightmare, but the way they scarescarescare the crap out of you in those books! No blankets in the crib. No loose clothing on the baby. No bumper in the crib. No stuffed animals, toys, or things with strings longer than 6 inches in the crib. Use a sleep positioner. Don't use a sleep positioner. Put them down on their backs. It goes on and on. So of course after reading every pregnancy and baby book I could find I was brainwashed into believing this rule. Well....Gabriel has spent every night of his life sleeping in our bed. Ok, sleeping and falling out of it. But just twice. :)  Some parents are scared to admit that they share a bed with their babies; others declare it proudly. Here's what I've learned:

There is a difference between SIDS and suffocation.  When a baby passes away and the coroner can't find a cause, they call it SIDS. If a baby suffocates on something (a blanket, pillow, mother's breast) then that is NOT SIDS. So I take this Rule with a grain of salt. I realized that when the baby is in my bed I am aware of his position. So we do ok. And I don't feel guilty. Don't get me wrong I was still terrified of SIDS for the first 6+ months of Gabe's life. Any time he napped too deeply I'd get this panicky feeling and check to see if he was breathing or even touch his cheek to see if it felt warm. I still do it occasionally, but I see him adjusting his position in his sleep and know he can do fine.

4. Introduce the sippy cup at 6 months so that you're baby is accustomed to it by the time he's ready to stop using the bottle. I read this advice when I was pregnant. It was in every book and on every hip mom information site. Makes sense, I thought. I dutifully went out and bought a variety of sippy cups (fortunately at a discount with coupons!) and waited for Gabriel to be old enough to use know what doesn't make sense? Expecting a 6 month-old to be able to use a sippy cup! They can't even walk but we expect them to be able to coordinate a sippy? Riiiiight.  In order to "acclimate" your 6 month old to a sippy you are required to sit there and put it up to their mouth. And all they will do is chew on it. Sure, you could even try to put their hands on the little handles (with ComfortGrip technology that's easy for little hands to grasp! Oh my!) and tilt it up to their mouths. But you're wasting your time. I threw this rule out the window after a few tries. I put the sippies back in the cupboard where they patiently waited for Gabriel to get a little older. I pulled a few back out a week ago. How's it going?, you ask? Well, Gabriel can hold those fancy shmancy handles by himself. Those handles that are easy for little hands to grasp! also make it easy for little hands to throw it to the floor. He still chews on the spout, too. You might as well just occassionally let the kiddo drink from your own glass. I think they catch on faster that way. Plus those No-Spill valves are great when they're older (I've heard...) but keep them in for the baby and they will never get the contents out. Your kid would have to have the suction of a Hoover.

5. If baby's toy, bottle, pacifier or food fall on the floor, don't give it back before washing it with soap and warm water. Yup, another gem from those mommy websites. Getting you all good and scared about germs. Put this advice into practice and you will spend your ENTIRE LIFE at the sink washing baby paraphernilia. I break this rule every chance I get. The only times I follow it are this: pacifier drops onto the floor at a public place (parking lot, mall, doctor's office). WASH. Although if it doesn't drop nipple-down I have been known to do the shirt-wipe then plug it back in his mouth. If we're at home this rule doesn't exist. Everything we own is on the floor. Everything. Plus when your baby reaches 9 or so months they will learn the "if I drop something Mommy or Daddy will pick it back up for me" game. Mmmm, fun indeed. Gabriel is thrilled with this discovery and right now my kitchen floor is covered in Cheerios. And you bet your bottoms I put those Cheerios right back on his tray. If I didn't? We'd go through a BOX A DAY.

6. You are not prepared for baby until you have every single baby accessory in the store.  I was naive enough to fall for this "rule". With all the exciting products they have on the market it's hard not to! They have more gadgets and accessories for babies then I have shoes in my closet. Some of them are cool, but I think most moms would agree that a lot of them just end up collecting dust in the nursery. The Diaper Genie is a big offender in this category. Fortunately I knew they were a waste of money (thanks to experienced moms telling me). But there are more than a couple baby items that I fell in love with that I never rarely used. The infant baby bathtub I shopped long and hard till I found one that met my expectations AND my budget. I was very excited to use it once we brought baby home. Well after a couple of hours spent cleaning up the massive amounts of water that spilled out of it we put it away and Gabe got all his baths using just the running faucet in the kitchen at first then graduated to the big boy bathtube at about 6 weeks or so...maybe earlier, those weeks are such a blur.
Bottom line is, rather than buy everything that sounds like it'd be useful, ask other moms what they can't live without, and what is just gathering dust in their nursery. Voila!

The End. For Now. Da Da Dum...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So I've got a couple people in my life who are apparently wanting to make it miserable for me... Their selfishness and lying is really pissing me off, yo.

Fortunately one of them got so bad that I've gone to lengths to cut them out of my family. Unfortunately I lost some loved ones who went with.

Now I've got another person who I think means well but is causing a storm in my life. And I'm ready to freaking rip their head off in frustration! Some of you know who this is, but please don't reveal it on here.

I need to figure out what to do....this person's actions are continually the subject of disagreements with Josh. I will not let somebody have that much power over my happiness. But will it do any good to let them know what is upsetting me? My goal is not to change them but to let them know how their actions are upsetting.


Gabe's coughing more again after days of getting better. Since this is exactly what happened to Josh, who we found out has pneumonia(!), I'm worried that Gabe might have something else going on....I know I worry too much but I can't help it. But at least he's not the crabby, clingy, annoying baby he was when he was sick.  That really drove me nuts, my friends. And it's ok to admit it if you're baby is driving you insane and you want to just hand him off to any available marginally responsible adult and get the hell out of dodge. Just make sure you come back....

Which leads me to another rant....

How in the F*$!@&#! can a parent EVER have the balls to just up and abandon their child. After the overwhelming love that fills your heart even while their screams fill your ears. After the first time they reach for you to pick them up. And give you big wet "kisses". And cry like their world is ending just because you're leaving the room.  I spend a few hours away from my son and my heart aches for him, I am missing a part of myself.  So a parent who had been so blessed with all these things, who leaves when things get rough and never looks back? You suck. That's all I got to say to you.  Oh, and pay your Child Support, loser!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


$160 worth for under $20!!!

So we all trekked down to Sioux City yesterday for a few things. Bank, dentist, laundry at my parents, etc. Well I also picked up the free movie passes I won from the radio station the other day and we decided to see if my parents would watch Gabriel while we saw a movie....they said Yes so off on a date we went! We saw Mission Impossible 342, oh I mean 4. It was entertaining enough. Afterward we swung by Walgreens for one of my favorite activities- seeing how cheap I can buy things! I had planned this elaborate shopping trip using my coupons and wags' deals (Register Rewards, store coupons, etc.) and would be getting $203 worth of stuff for under $25. Well, of course because it was Tuesday, a full THREE days after the ad came out, they were out of half the stuff I wanted! That is always so frustrating! And since we're not supposed to shop on Sundays because of religious reasons I feel like I'm always missing out on the great deals. I wish I had other drugstores (CVS, Rite Aid) to shop at but they don't exist here. In fact, there aren't that many great "couponing" options here. Nobody doubles coupons and the main grocery store here won't accept coupons worth more than the product and is very suspicious of internet printed coupons. Thanks to the couponing phenomenon spurred on by the recession, coupon use is at an all time high. So is coupon fraud. And everyone is suspicious that you're trying to pull a fast one on them so they treat you like a criminal every so often. Fortunately its only happened to me twice in 6 months. And boy do I defend myself! More often you will experience people rolling their eyes when you pull out your big stack of coupons. Like I'm a dork because I save money? Please! You're a dork for paying full price for everyday items when you can get them for 50% off or sometimes even free! To be fair though there are also a lot of cashiers who are genuinely excited to see how much money you can save. I always try to share my couponing tips with them...
Anyways here's the details....
I did 8 transactions. The first four were 5 bags of Chex mix and a Syntha 6 bar. There is an unadvertised Catalina deal going on for Chex Mix, and if you buy 5 bags you get a $3 coupon off your next in-store purchase. These work the same way Register Rewards work. I'll break it down below to try to explain it. It is a little bit complicated.
Transaction #5- a summary
1 Tylenol Pain-relief Patch: $5.99, get a $3 RR- I also had a $3 off coupon
1 Reach Floss: $2.99, get a $2 RR- also had a $1 off coupon
1 Omega Kids DHA supplement: $10, get a $10 RR- these are free (just tax) after RR
4 Butterfinger Candy Bars: $0.39 on sale (had to have these as "filler" items)
Sub-total: $20.54, minus my $3 and $1 coupons = $16.54
I now redeemed the four $3 RRs I'd earned from buying the Chex Mix, and then one of the $2 RR I'd earned from buying the Syntha 6 Energy bars (they were $1.89, get a $2 RR so FREE)
So it deducted $14 from my total, leaving me with just $2.54 to pay.
Then here's where a lot of people get messed up when using coupons. TAX. Most of the time you are still responsible for tax, and it's the tax amount on the original price of the item, before coupons. IE: the Reach Floss is on sale for $2.99. I have to pay this amount, THEN I'll get a RR after I buy it worth $2 to use on the next purchase. Tax here in Iowa is 7%, so tax on the floss is .21. But I have a $1 off coupon so I'd only be paying $1.99 for the floss, then get the $2 RR, so it's free. Except for tax. Factoring tax in, if I was just buying the floss I'd pay $1.99 + .21: $2.20. Then I'd get a $2 RR back. So I really paid .21 for the floss. Tax always needs to be taken into consideration in your plans because it can really add up! If I'm getting stuff really cheap or free with coupons, I still have tax to worry about! I have paid more for tax than I did for the products before!
So my sub-total before discounts was $20.54. Add tax, $1.43 appx. So add that to the $2.54 out of pocket I'll pay for these items.
But then the fun part: after you complete your transaction the little catalina machine (it prints coupons at the register, and also prints the Register Rewards) starts spitting out my RRs earned from this transaction. So I get a $3 RR, a $2 RR, and a $10 RR! So I paid $3.97 and got $15 worth of RR for my next transactions. This is also why you break up your purchase into multiple transactions: so you can use the RRs you're earning toward other items, keeping your out of pocket costs low. Others use the strategy of paying out of pocket for all items, then saving all the RRs they earn for the next week's deals.
I then used the $15 RR towards other items, etc, until I purchased everything on my list. I had it planned where I was going to use all my RR, but because they were out of a lot of what I wanted I decided to just keep them for next week rather than use them on something I didn't really want. So I have $12 RR for next week.
The Rules:
---The reason I had to buy the Butterfinger bars is because Walgreens has a policy where you cannot have more manufacturer coupons than you do items purchased. Since Register Rewards are considered manufacturer coupons, without the Butterfingers I wouldn't have had enough items to equal the RRs redeemed. Get it? Confusing I know. It gets worse. Now of course buying items just to make sure you can use your RRs can affect your savings, so its a good strategy to buy super cheap things, preferably ones that you will use. Since candy can ALWAYS be used in my house, and they were a pretty good price, that's what I settled on. Last week I bought a bunch of really cute Christmas ornaments that were 75% off, so they were each .25! And I LOVE them, so it was a win win!
---Another important rule is this (I'll use the Reach Floss again as an example): If you're buying more than one of an item that's offering a RR, such as the floss, you shouldn't use the RR you earned on one floss towards the purchase of another floss. You CAN technically do it, but by redeeming it on the same item it will tell the catalina machine to NOT print another RR for the new floss you're buying. This is because of the fine print on all RR offers- one coupon per item. So it will not let you us the RR you just earned on a floss to get another floss and another RR. BUT- if you use a different RR (to be safe you should make sure it's not from the same manufacturer, if that manufacturer is offering more than one RR deal at a time, such as a RR deal on Tide detergent and an RR deal on Herbal Essences shampoo- both are manufactured by Proctor & Gamble) from another item, you're safe. So that's why I used the Chex Mix RR towards other items, then I used the Reach and Tylenol RR for more items still. See? Its EASY! LOL
I hope I'm explaining this makes sense in my head but I've heard from a lot of people who say they just can't 'get it'. Couponing, especially at Walgreens, does take some skill. Math is required. I honestly think that some people are just not "smart enough" for it, as mean as that sounds!
I know that no one is reading my blog, but if any family who read it have any questions leave a comment and I'll try to help.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Planning a Coupon Trip to Walgreens! Finally!

Its been 3 weeks since I've been able to do a decent couponing shopping trip. With the holidays and the move I haven't had time. Fortunately some of the weekly ads weren't all that great, so I don't feel too bad about missing things. I looked last week at Walgreens (my main store to coupon at) and it stunk so I'm super excited for the deals starting tomorrow!

I'll post back on here my "game plan" for my own reference and for anybody else who stumbles upon this site.