Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fabulous CVS week

I didn't keep my receipts so I can't tell you to the penny, but here's how this week went at CVS. Remember that I use one account for me and one account for the husband. Also note that because the Right Guard wasn't printing out the ECBs until today, I got a gift card for the first 2 I bought ($14) and was still able to go ahead and get 10 today. I also spent $4.50 on Chanukah supplies that caught my eye - no coupons! Ack!

Price on everything before ECBs and coupons: $330.54 + aprox $5 in sales tax.

Net cost after ECBs and coupons: EARNED $30.77

  • Right Guard - pay $7.99, get 7 ecbs. I bought 12 and used 10 $1/manus and 2 $2/manus. Earned $2.12 on this portion.
  • Complete contact lens solution - pay $8.99, get $8.99 ecbs. I bought 10 and used 9 $2/manus. Earned $18 on this portion.
  • Maybelline makeup - pay $8.99, get $8.99 ecbs. I bought 4 and used 4 $3/manus. Earned $12 on this portion.
  • American Express gift cards - buy 3, get $10 ecbs. I bought 3 at a cost of $86.85 (including a service fee). I earned $10 ecbs and will send away for a $15 gas card. Counting the gas card, I earned $13.15 on this portion.
  • Crest - pay $3.49, get $3.49 ecbs. I bought the last 5 I was eligible for and used 5 $1/manus. Earned $5 on this portion.
  • Chanukah supplies - paid $4.50.
Have I said before how much I love CVS?

Monday, November 24, 2008

My heart

Today at lunch I was talking with Nate about Thanksgiving, explaining that it's a holiday when we think about the things that make us happy, things we're glad about. I told him I was happy he was my boy, and Jack, too. He returned the sentiment and then we talked about everyone else we were happy about - Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Peepa, and most importantly Sophia.

Things were quiet for a while as we ate, and then Nate looked up and said "I like you, Mommy."

Boy do I like that kid back.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jack's Monthly Newsletter, One Year

Dear Jack,

You are one year old today, and I truly can't believe it. Sometimes it seems like it flew by, and sometimes I can't believe you're only one. You seem younger to me, probably because you're not walking yet. Everyone else keeps wondering when you'll start; I know you'll get around to it when you feel like it - you're already starting to take little hesitant steps before deciding that crawling is just safer and faster. Can't blame you there. Frankly I like you crawling around; you're so quick about it, with your little hands slapping along. When you get to me you kneel up on your knees like a dog begging for a treat.

You are a total love-bug, burrowing your head into my neck and loudly sighing with contentment. You often come to me for a cuddle, laying your head onto my shoulder and smiling around at the room. When someone you love comes into sight, you gasp with joy and flail your arms around. You remain the grinniest baby on earth, smiling so big that your eyes squint up and your nose crinkles. Funny little evil baby.

Here are the things you love:

  • Laptops. Pull one out and you're all over it. You love opening and closing the lid and slapping at the keys with this big gleeful grin the whole time. I've tried showing you similar items, to see if it's just the buttons you like, but you definitely have a special fixation on laptops. You've developed a wonderfully annoying routine where you close the lid and then whine-cry until I come over and open it back up again. And if I try to actually use it? I have to hold it up away from your grasp while you scrabble at me and whine because you're not able to get your pudgy hands on it. Fun stuff.

  • Opening and closing doors (not all the way, obviously, just moving them back and forth). As I type this you're sitting outside of our room in the hallway, opening and closing the linen closet and giggling at your antics.

  • Balls. Any kind. We actually play catch - I roll the ball to you and you pick it up and toss it back towards me. If I didn't know better I'd think you really understand what we're doing. Maybe you do.

  • Grapes, bananas, grapes, goldfish, and grapes. You can stuff grapes down like nobody's business. If you've eaten all the ones on your tray and you see some on my plate you hoot at me until I transfer them to you.

You still love to climb anything, anytime. If there's a moment of silence, I can be 95% sure you're climbing the stepladder in the kitchen. No matter how many times you've fallen and bonked yourself, you can't seems to stop yourself. The funniest times are when I find you perched at the top like a little mountain goat, unsure of how to get yourself down. If there are two moments of silence I race for the stairs, the steep, wooden stairs, praying that I didn't leave the gate open. I've only forgotten once, and by the time my internal Mama-Alarm went off I found you 14 steps up. That wasn't scary at all.

For such an outgoing, active, friendly guy you are shockingly soft, Jack, soft like a marshmallow. Any time you get a little bump or scare I watch your face crumple into sobs. You sob angrily and get soothed slowly, but as soon as you calm down you're instantly back to your smiley self. Your skin marks up easily, you get diaper rash at the top of a hat. I call you my delicate flower. For a big bruiser boy, you really are a softie.

With all of the drama and angst and tearing of hair that went along with your sleep habits for the first nine months, you've turned into an awfully good sleeper. When it's time for bed I lay you in my arms and walk up the stairs saying "night night!" One time I think you said it back. I'm pretty sure. Anyway, as we walk up the stairs you like it when I lightly bonk your head against the wall. Really. One time I did it accidentally, and you got a big grin on your face and started reaching your head back to try to make it bonk again. So, up the stairs, night-night, head-bonking, and I sing you a little Neil Young (we both especially like "Unknown Legend") and then you grin and reach for your crib. I lay you down, you hug Pink Doll to you, I stick a pacifier in your mouth, and head out the door. Ninety-five percent of the time that's the last I hear from you. You're even sleeping through the night 2 nights out of 3, and the third time I make your Daddy deal with you. Everyone wins! Well I do, anyway.

When Daddy and Nate roughhouse and play, you crawl right up screeching away and try to get in on the act. Daddy does his best to include you and I know how much he's looking forward to really being able to play with you. You three are going to have so much fun together, and I can't wait to watch it all (and join in on the days when girls are welcome).

You are my sweetie, Jack, and I'm so incredibly glad you were born.
I love you,

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pillaging CVS

I had to post about today's CVS trip. Remember that I use two accounts (approved by CVS managers) - one for me and one for Stewart. I don't remember which inserts I pulled the coupons from, so just post a comment if you need any help.

Net cost including tax: 50 cents. FIFTY CENTS.

In two big transactions (one on each account), I got a total of:

Glaceau Smart water x 2 (pay $1.59, get $1.59 in ECBs) = FREE

Listerine Agent Cool Blue mouthwash x 6 (pay $3.99, get 3 ECBS. Used two $1/internet coupons and four $.50/manufacturer coupons) = $1.98

St. Ives Bodywash x 8 (pay $3.99, get 3 ECBs. Used six $1/manufacturer coupons) = FREE

L'Oreal Advanced RevitaLift x 2 (pay $11.99, get $11.99 in ECBs. Used two $1/manufacturer coupons) = earn $2

Palmolive dish soap x 8 (pay $1.49, get $1 ECB. Used four $1/2 manufacturer coupons) = FREE

Garnier Fructis x 2 (pay $2.99, get $2 ECBs. Used two $1/manufacturer coupons) = FREE

Colgate Total x 14 (BOGO at $2.29. Used fourteen $1/manufacturer coupons) = $2.03

I'm still eligible to get four more mouthwashes and unlimited Colgates if more coupons appear. I'll keep a few of each for our stockpile and drop the rest at Bread for the City on Tuesday. The anti-wrinkle stuff is mine. Goodness knows I need it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nate's Monthly Newsletter, Three Years Two Months

Dear Nate,

I absolutely can't believe that it's only been a month since I wrote your last newsletter - that happy, wondrous description of your three year-old self. It feels like a year has passed since then; an obnoxious, snotty, rude, disrespectful year. A year full of time-outs, threats, lectures, and hitting (you hitting, not me, but just barely.)

When I ask you to do something, your frequent response is succinct: NO. When I explain that you don't say NO to Mommy, you mutter "you Mommy" under your breath. I know when I'm being cursed at, even if you're not quite cursing yet. It's just a matter of time; I can feel it.

A tiny snapshot:

You and Jack are playing on the carpet. Jack picks up a toy and you suddenly discover that you desperately, immediately need that toy. You grab it away, and huddle so that Jack can't get back to it. Sometimes you lie down on the toy to make absolutely sure he can't.

Me: Calmly tell you that we don't grab toys, and ask you to please give the toy back to Jack.

You: Silence

Me: "Please give the toy back to Jack now."

You: Silence

Me: "If you don't give that toy back to Jack, you will have to go in time-out."

You: Sullenly sliding the toy halfway to Jack, then pulling it back again.

Me: "Okay, you're in time-out!"


Me: "Okay, one more chance."

You: Danging the toy in front of Jack and then pulling it away and laughing.

Me: Hauling your flailing body to time-out.

You: Hitting me in the shoulder, then slyly looking to see if I saw you.

Me: Yeah, I saw you. Very stern, low-voice "We do not hit Mommy." Plunking you in time-out.

You: Leaving time-out, grabbing at my heels, wailing, carrying on.

Me: Trying to be calm but stern, putting you back in time-out, keeping Jack from thinking it's a game and playing with you. Waiting for you to sit still for a whole minute so I can call the whole damn thing off.

Me again: "Nate, I put you in time-out for grabbing toys and not listening to me when I told you to give them back to Jack. Say "Sorry for not listing, Mommy."

You: Silence

Me: "If you want to leave time-out, you need to say "Sorry for not listening, Mommy."

You: Glaring at me. "Sorrrrrrrrrrrr..." Insert snotty glance here.

Me: "It's just fine with me if you stay in time-out (except it's not, because we have to get to X before Y happens and the whole day's plan is shot.) But you're not leaving until you say "Sorry for not listening, Mommy."

You: "I just want to say "Sorry."

Me: "Yeah, I know. That's why you have to say the whole thing." (intended lesson: I'm in charge. Ha!)

You: "Sorry for..."

Me: "Okay, I'm done. Call me when you want to say sorry." Getting up and walking away.

You: "Wait! I'll say it!"

Me: Walking back over, sitting back down.

You: "Sorrrrrr....." Another snotty look.

Me: "See ya, buddy."

Repeat 4 or 5 times, insert more weeping (yours, thankfully, though mine is close behind), and you're finally out of time-out. We go to get ready to leave, and you refuse to put your shoes on. I calmly tell you to please come over and get your shoes on. You shout NO, I DON'T WANT TO! I calming explain that if you don't listen to Mommy, you'll have to sit in time-out for not listening.


45 minutes later, we're ready to leave the house and everyone is exhausted and frustrated. Errands are a blast. Then it's time to make you another meal and try to teach you that we don't spit food, show me the food in your mouth, get up and run around during dinner, or lick food off the table.

Here's to a better month next month.

I still adore you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Man on the Moon

My sons woke up this morning to a different world. They'll never know a time before it was possible that a black man could be elected to the Presidency of the United States. I'm so happy for them, for us, for our country. On the morning that we wake up knowing that a woman can be President, I'll feel like this country has truly matured.

I took them with me to vote yesterday and was given a choice of a paper ballot or voting electronically. I took the paper, and stood Nate up on a chair in our little spot so that he could watch me fill it out. He really didn't understand anything that was going on. When I looked down at Barack Obama's name in the first position, I started crying. Of course Nate doesn't understand joyful tears, so he kept asking me what was wrong. I assured him that I was okay, but he wasn't having it. He leaned his face over into mine and said "Look! I'll make a happy face!" and smiled a forced wide smile. My gosh, he's got such a good heart.

We turned in our ballot, got our "I voted" stickers, and celebrated at home with Chinese food. I am grateful for my life, for my family, for my friends who plunked on my couches to watch the returns, for this country that keeps trying to better itself. We are all so lucky.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween cuteness

Jack, a few days before Halloween:

On the way to Nate's preschool:

See how they're gazing at each other?

Halloween was great. The weather was perfect - clear and mild. We joined forces with Nate's beloved Sophia, and their posse ushered them around the 'hood: me, Stewart, Sophia's mom, Sophia's aunt (neighbor), Sara & Ryan (neighbors), and Aunt Drebs (neighbor). I love having so many neighborhood friends who love and enjoy our kids!

Started out around 5:30 and tried to pick houses with people home. Nate was thrilled with each catch, running back to us yelling "So much candy!" and showing me his pumpkin every time. We got home and spilled his loot out on the ground to ooh and ahh over. When he's older, I'll continue my Dad's tradition and pay him $.05 for every small Reese's cup and $.10 for every big one. I let him pick two pieces to eat right then (he picked two lollipops) and we've been letting him have one after every meal since.

It was really his first sentient Halloween and it couldn't have gone better. We have such a great life.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jack walked!

Three days ago, Jack walked! I went into the kitchen with Nate to get something for him, and when I was walking back to the living room I saw Jack take two steps between the red couch and the recliner. One little one and then a regular one, at which point he paused, looked around at my clapping, smiled, and lowered himself to the ground to crawl to me.

The last few days I've been sitting on the floor and putting him a few feet in front of me. He staggers a step or two to fall into my arms and we do it again.

He regularly stands up without holding on to anything, often waving toys around frantically. The boy loves to flaps his hands, shake his toys, slap his hands on tables, pound the bat on the floor (or sometimes his head). If he wasn't so incredibly alert and engaged, I'd almost worry!

I looked around at him yesterday and he was standing in the middle of the dining room examining something in his hands, and I got a flash of him as a toddler. My baby's just about gone. Sniff. Guess it's time to have another. Ha!