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Archive for October, 2007

THRIFTY THURSDAYS FLAT header

It’s a two-for-one or BIG1 free post!

(1) I found out about restaurant.com via my Michigan tightwads group. No, I really don’t make this stuff up and I don’t belong to every Yahoo group under the sun…yet! Michigan Tightwads ” is set up to give people in Michigan a place to ask advice & share their hints on ways to be “thrifty” on a LOCAL level and ideas in general. Frugal tips, articles, and ideas to get more for your dollar, save money, and have more for less. Join us! Share your ideas for getting through tight times and learn from others how they do the same!”

(2) Often I will see Michigan Tightwad posts referring to a discount code for restaurants.com. I decided to check it out. If you eat out often (or never because it costs so much money) you should really check into this. You type in your zip code, see restaurants in your area offering $10 gift certificates for $3 or $25 gift certificates for $10. Already a great deal, but it gets better! If you have a coupon code, you can get another 50-70% off. For instance, using an additional coupon code that I found by simply Googling “Restaurant.com coupon code”, we got a $10 gift certificate to Cascade Roadhouse for $1.50, a $10 gift certificate to the Hungry Dutchman for 90 cents, and a $25 gift certificate to the Cozy Coyote for $3. You purchase your gift certificate online and print it out right then and there. So simple, so delicious. I just eat up bargains. Bon Apetit!

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My Photo

Katharine Stone of Postpartum Progress wrote this spot-on piece about postpartum community. She’s been there. She knows. She understands. So do I. And for a lot of you reading this so do you. There’s something to be said about community that is healing. When you know you’re with other people who “know”, who have been there, are there, or were there and have survived, you know you aren’t alone and there is something medicinal in that knowledge.

Only a woman who has been through postpartum depression can truly, deeply understand. It’s that way with most things, isn’t it? I can certainly empathize and try to imagine what it is like to have cancer, but I haven’t gone through it and cannot put myself squarely in that place. That’s why we postpartum mood disorder survivors need each other so, and why so many of us dedicate a portion of our lives to helping other women who will as surely as death and taxes experience the same thing.

No offense to the doctors and the husbands and the friends who really care and try to support us, but no one else gets it like a woman who has gone through it. And to tell the truth, we can see deep down the faint glint in so many eyes that says “Is this what’s really going on?” Yep. We see it. We may be mentally ill but we’re not stupid. As much as you try to hide it we can see what you’re thinking — even if you yourself want to believe us and try to tamp down your thoughts. You’re thinking:

  • Is she just weak and over-emotional?
  • Is she just selfish? Does she just regret losing her wild and carefree life to the sleepless nights and diaper changes and constant responsibilities of caring for a child?
  • Is she just exaggerating to get attention? Can it really be that bad?
  • Is it even possible for someone to have thoughts beyond their control? What kind of mother thinks of drowning or suffocating her child? I mean, I’ve had stress, but I’ve certainly never thought of anything like that.
  • She could just get over it if she really wanted to.
  • What kind of person is she, really?

We’re suffering from an illness that cannot be seen. We don’t have a fever, swelling, vomiting or diarrhea. No rash, cramping or stiffness. No open wounds that will not heal — at least not the kind you can see with the naked eye. So many wonder if we’re really sick at all.

And guess what? So do we. We wonder whether we’re really just defective people who are unworthy of being mothers. We understand the glint of judgment precisely because we’ve had it ourselves. Before we got sick, we looked at others and thought “I would never think that”, “I would never do that”, and “I would never be like that”. Until we did and until we were, and now we don’t have that glint anymore.

We can see what you’re thinking, and we understand. But it still hurts. A lot.

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Sex kitten mug A warning ladies, my face got a little flushed reading this one. (I have to write that as a disclaimer because my mom and MIL read this blog…wouldn’t want them to think I was a sex kitten or anything like that!)

Here is Jill’s 4th week sex challenge. And it’s a doosie. I do have to agree with her. Especially for those of us who have recently given birth or are constantly nursing, sex is the LAST, and I do mean LAST thing that ever enters our minds. But it’s truly a “take the bull by the horns” situation.

Since sex is very much a mental thing for us gals, get your mind in gear and made up to “just do it”. Now, my “just do it” is completely different from my male doctor telling me “you may not want to have sex with your husband and the side affects of your Zoloft may be that your sex drive is lower or nil, but you need to think of your husband and just have sex with him anyway because that’s what he needs”.

My “just do it” is born out of experience–once you get your mind made up, I promise you that you’ll be the one getting mad if he comes to bed and falls asleep before he realized you had shaved your legs, put new sheets on the bed, gargled with Listerine, and shoe-horned yourself into that little pre-baby nightie.

Jill’s challenge:

sex-challenge.gif

I don’t know if you have told your hubby about the challenge or not. Maybe he hasn’t noticed, suddenly the bedroom has been rearranged. I hope he noticed the new undergarments. If not, you need to think sexier. This week’s challenge is all about the element of surprise. So hubbies, avert your eyes.

If your sex life is like most housewives I talk to, evenings look like this: Do some cleaning up, organizing, miscellaneous things you couldn’t accomplish with kids around. Watch a little TV, surf the internet. Finally get to bed about 1/2 hour past exhausted. Head hits the pillow only to feel a little tap on the shoulder (or worse). You roll over and groan as you see “the look” in his eyes. The words, “I’m so tired” or “It’s so late” or even “You must be kidding me?” might be uttered. Sound familiar?


How about instead, you take command of the evening. Put the kids to bed and tell the hubby you need him to come do some made up chore in the bedroom (hang curtains, fix the dresser knob, fold socks, whatever). When he enters, you pounce. Hubbies get really tired of asking and getting shot down. This week, you initiate. He may fall over from the surprise, but then you will have him on his back, right where you want him 🙂

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I am a firm believer that postpartum conditions and stresses do not only affect women. They affect entire families–especially our spouses.

Dan has been a huge support to me. When I didn’t know I was suffering from PPD, he was patient and kind. When I knew I was suffering from PPD, he pitched in and gave me space. This third time around he’s gotten educated and really knows how to handle PPD and me.

Here are just a few resources for the man in your life trying to pin back together the fragile pieces of your family after baby comes.

The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for living with Postpartum Depression by Karen R. Kleiman 

Postpartum Dads

The first 12 months of fatherhood

EdHealthMD

Fathers.com

Boot Camp for New Dads

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a time to rest FLAT header

I believe we would be happier to have a personal revolution in our individual lives and go back to simpler living and more direct thinking. It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday afternoon we headed up to my parents’ new cabin. It isn’t furnished yet, but there’s something to be said for simplicity. (This photo was snapped before the previous owners moved all their stuff out)

There wasn’t a lot to look at, keep clean, trip over, walk around, or potentially be spilled on. We had the clothes we were wearing plus one other pair. We ate the food we brought and when it was gone, it was gone. We played outside in the leaves–those were all the toys we needed. We scavenged whatever we could find to make soft beds and snuggled up together to keep warm at night.

No TV. No internet. Just us. Simple. Restful. What’s cluttering you up and not allowing you to rest?

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A woman deep in thought.Before, during, and even after having a baby, one of the biggest decisions a couple will have to make is whether mom will stay at home or return to/go find employment. Dave Ramsey, devoted to counseling folks hurting from the results of financial stress, gives his take on this question here.

Dear Dave,
I’m a stay-at-home mom with two preschool kids. My husband brings home about $2,800 a month, and our mortgage payment is $1,100 a month. Over the last two years we’ve been tapping into our savings to help pay bills. Do you think I should find a good daycare center for the kids and go back to work?
ToniDear Toni,
I can’t blame you for wanting to stay home with your children – especially when they’re so young. Being a full-time mom is a great thing.

The biggest problem I see is that you guys are a little rich on your house payment. Forty percent of your husband’s pay is going toward your home, and that’s just too much. Your house payment should never be more than about 25% of your take-home pay.

It’s no picnic trying to live on $1,700 a month especially with two babies in the house. But there’s not a lot of fat to cut out at this point. One option would be for your husband to do something to get his income level up, whether it’s taking a part-time job for awhile or furthering his education. Another is to sell the house, and I’m not a big fan of that one.

Think of this as a math problem with three components – income, lifestyle and house payment. One of these has got to give. But I think you and your husband need to sit down, hold hands and talk this one out together. There’s going to have to be some sacrifice, and only you two can determine what you’re willing and unwilling to do.
Dave

After our first child, it was worth it for me to continue working fulltime and put him into childcare since my husband was still in seminary. But that only lasted about 6 months. I was torn between momming and working, stressed beyond belief, and struggling from a mysterious case of “I’m just not myself” (aka-postpartum depression). I transitioned to working from home, but after our second came along, caring for 2 under 2 years of age kept me more than busy. And then came # 3…and well, you get the point.

I struggle so mightily with this issue. I know I am blessed to be able to be a SAHM, but I don’t really enjoy it the way some other mothers revel in their momdom. I adore my children, but have come to the conclusion that having to micro-manage every aspect of their lives every second of every minute of every day (when that’s not at ALL my management style) is at the heart of what it is that daily is driving me crazy.

The Total Money Makeover - Beat Debt & Build WealthWe’ve gotten our double-income-down-to-one-income finances well under control thanks to Dave Ramsey’s great advice in his Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness book, so when I started looking to get back into the work world again, my husband challenged me very much as to my reasons why. Obviously, finances aren’t driving my decision, so I have to dig a little deeper and figure out what is giving me the itch to “do something grownup”…and to figure out what that is!

For now, I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing, but I’m keeping my options open. What about you?

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I’m 18 months postpartum and am still finding myself tucking in a roll or two of tummy along with my t-shirt or using a belt to hold in my mid-section. I realized that everything is not just going to snap back all by itself, so maybe a few exercises are in order.

My mom shared a doable strategy with me. She told me to flex my stomach in while I am driving. I envision trying to pull my belly-button so far backwards that it will touch the lumbar region of the seat I am sitting in and try to hold that pose, then release and keep sucking it in and holding again during my entire car trip. I by no means have a gorgeous six pack now that I’ve been doing it, but at least I feel I am giving my jelly-belly a tiny bit of a workout.

Now, sucking in my stomach in addition to flexing my hind-hams trying to do buns of steel exercises along with kegels while driving is about as safe as talking on your cell phone while eating a taco and driving a stick shift. So maybe just one exercise at a time. Or choose one to do while nursing (probably not the kegels–I read somewhere that the hormone your body releases to allow your milk to let down is closely related if not the same as the hormone that is released during an orgasm–so save those for your time with hubby).

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