Monday, February 28, 2011
For the most part, I really liked being pregnant. Call me crazy. Looking back, there are some things I want to document so I don't forget.
First of all, I could cry at the drop of a hat. Whether I wanted to or not. It just happened. Now I can't produce a tear to save my life.
Second, I had such a strong nesting instinct that I was seriously checking things off the list on a daily basis. I wouldn't lounge in bed on Saturday mornings like before. I would vacuum. Same thing at work. In fact, one day my boss told me, "Brooke, this baby is giving you energy that nobody else has." So, I tried to put on the brakes a little bit there.
Finally, towards the end of my pregnancy I had an enormous belly. And, when you're pregnant, you have to go to the restroom every five minutes. And, the toilets in my office building are lower than your standard toilet. There were times that I thought I was going to have to yell for help. I was literally unable to stand up. There's no leaning forward to hoist yourself up. The belly is in the way. You just have to grab onto the toilet paper dispenser and pull for dear life. Thankfully it was securely attached. Talk about feelings of helplessness.
Ah, the fond memories of pregnancy...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
So, as I began exploring the possibility of staying home, I found myself faced with questions regarding my overall vocation and calling. I guess that's probably natural. According to the StrengthsFinder, my second strength is Deliberative. This means that I am a thinker and a planner. Shocking, I know.
Anyway, back to vocation. Frederick Buechner defines vocation as "the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need." I LOVE that!
I stumbled upon another book in my office: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer. Again, I really connected with this book, and I'm sure many of you will too.
It seems like this past year has been full of thunderstorms, weariness, and jagged cliffs, but I also feel like those things have been leading me toward something better. I have felt so confined, spread so thin, and I have worried myself sick.
This reminds me of one of my favorite verses: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).
Life is discouraging sometimes. Overwhelming sometimes. Extremely stressful sometimes.
So, for now, perseverance. And a pilgrimage.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
First of all, everyone was HILARIOUS. We were seriously cracking up half of the time. Loved it. Dennis Swanberg served as emcee, and you could not help but laugh at this guy's jokes. Charles Billingsly, the musician, was extraordinarily talented, but also hilarious.
Second, we really learned a lot of useful information. Since we took notes, I decided to post some of them below.
Here is what the speakers, Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg, had to say:
- The #1 indicator of divorce is your ability or inability to resolve conflict. Each of us needs to allow ourselves to be teachable.
- Guard your marriage. Try not to argue or complain. Above all, don't let your children see you argue or complain.
- Be one in spirit and purpose.
- You can't live on autopilot. You must be intentional about everything. We don't live in the same world in which our grandparents lived. There is more noise. There are more distractions and temptations.
- Resist selfishness and serve selflessly. Persevere.
- Take pride out of the house and adopt humility.
- Wives need to feel encouraged and validated by their husbands.
- When a man is experiencing stress or a crisis, wives need to show up, respect, affirm, and reassure him.
- Always put the relationship over the issue at hand. The relationship is non-negotiable.
Anyway, it was a great event. They mentioned that most people spend more time preparing to get their drivers' permit than they prepare for their marriage. That really puts things into perspective...
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The purchase consisted of two packages of Gain fabric softener (which were priced at $4.29 each), two bottles of salad dressing, one Dove deodorant, and two packages of Colgate toothpaste.
I stacked manufacturer coupons with Target coupons for all these items.
Deals like this can be achieved by printing coupons from the Target website and by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper.
My intention is to stock up on non-perishable items we use whenever I'm able to get a good deal! I'm starting small to avoid overwhelming myself. I view it as a success!
Friday, February 18, 2011
I forget things. My brain can't handle the complexity that was once the norm. Multi-tasking--forget about it. I sign in to the computer only to forget what I was planning to do. I start conversations only to forget my point. I have brilliant, revolutionary ideas only to have them quickly slip my mind.
As a child, I remember my Dad asking me something and me telling him, "Oh, I forgot," which he religiously followed with, "What does 'forgot' start with?" Me: "An 'F.'" Him: "Well then, that's your grade for the day."
Sounds a little harsh maybe, but it carried enough weight for me to up my game a little bit. Be more responsible. Take care of business. So, I became more organized. Began writing lists, which I come by naturally, genetically. I wrote grocery lists for my mom on my scented, colored, wide-ruled notebook paper, complete with a heading at the top. I created an intricate spreadsheet of our chores on the back of my bedroom door. If you wanted something, you had to pay for it, and you could earn 25 cents for a load of laundry, for the dishes, or for vacuuming. I had my mom initial each one as I completed it. Yes, I was in elementary school, but I liked structure, order, routine. My husband enjoys these stories because it gives him a glimpse into my childhood and the nerd within me. His particular favorite: I was the school librarian’s assistant for 5 years in elementary school. I voluntarily skipped recess and stayed late after school to do this. The bookshelf in my bedroom at home was arranged alphabetically in categories, including fiction, non-fiction, biography, and so on. The neighborhood kids could check books out, yes, but a fining system was also a part of the infrastructure. In other words, "forgetting" was not an option.
Yesterday, Mommy Brain reached a whole new level. I was talking to my husband on my cell phone while I was walking through my office building. We ended our conversation and said our good-byes. Several minutes later, I reached my car in the parking lot only to realize I was still holding the phone up to my ear... with no one on the other end. At that moment I realized that I've hit rock bottom.
With the onset of Pregnancy Brain, and now Mommy Brain, it looks like this straight-A student is going to be spending some time on the B-Honor Roll for a while.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
There are a few books to which I've turned in order to shed a little light on the subject. Funny thing is, most (if not all) of these books were given to us at work for periodic professional development.
First, I give you Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives.
"Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest." (p. 1)
"In our drive for success we are seduced by the promises of more: more money, more recognition, more satisfaction, more love, more information, more influence, more possessions, more security. Even when our intentions are noble and our efforts sincere--even when we dedicate our lives to the service of others--the corrosive pressure of frantic overactivity can nonetheless cause suffering in ourselves and others." (p. 1-2)
"...to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects...it destroys our own inner capacity for peace." (p. 3)
"Sabbath is a time to stop, to refrain from being seduced by our desires. To stop working, stop making money, stop spending money. See what you have. Look around. Listen to your life. Do you really need more than this?" (p. 137)
These thoughts have definitely resonated with me and have allowed me to switch gears to some degree. Mostly, I have applied the brakes. I realized that I, like so many people, try to fill every last second of every single day with productivity. And, I'm human. We are not made to operate in this crazy way. I have to stop.
One of the illustrations I loved in this book was this: "If certain plant species, for example, do not lie dormant for winter, they will not bear fruit in the spring. If this continues for more than a season, the plant begins to die. If dormancy continues to be prevented, the entire species will die" (p. 7).
So, I am allowing this new chapter in our lives to be a season of dormancy, so to speak...
Rest. Renewal. Restoration.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
So, have you heard of this guy named Peter Walsh? He has written a few books and has a show on OWN, which I stumbled across the other day. As he was helping this family de-clutter and organize their home, he basically told them that clutter wasn't just tangible items, but anything that stood between them and the lives they wanted to live. This includes mental clutter. At the time, I too was feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything. It is so easy to be overcommitted these days! There are so many expectations, and it is easy to be spread too thin.
Does your life seem out of balance? If so, don't be discouraged. Maybe it's time for a healthy "spring cleaning" to help you sort through your clutter, whatever it might be.
For me, having a baby really helped put things into perspective. Are you familiar with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Stephen Covey's 2nd Habit is "Begin with the end in mind." With an infant, I want to be intentional about laying a solid foundation for her life and for the life of our family. In a similar fashion, The Baby Whisperer swears by her grandmother's motto: "Start as you mean to go on."
So, in order to be intentional about laying this solid foundation, I want to address any clutter that might be in the way. From big things (me quitting my job), to small things (cleaning out our home office and donating items to charity). We are prioritizing. We are minimizing. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted. We are attempting to be proactive instead of reactive.
Being proactive and laying this groundwork has me feeling optimistic and hopeful. The load is lighter. Looking back to even a few weeks ago, I see myself swimming in a sea of stress. That is not how life was intended. I have learned so much from these experiences, and I am truly excited to see what this new chapter holds!
Friday, February 11, 2011
I have been working consistently, on a payroll, since I was 12. Granted, this is probably not normal. I have been in my current position for more than three years. I have been at the University for more than ten.
For me, a people-pleaser, I had to really wrestle with everyone else's expectations. While they shall remain nameless, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure that I would be failing other people, for various reasons. I had to come to terms with that.
Several years ago, a friend recommended this book called When People Are Big and God is Small. This book gave me a new perspective. For all of you people-pleasers out there who are feeling really busy and burdened by the expectations of the world, definitely consider reading this book to help you prioritize your life.
Or, if you are feeling burdened by some other baggage, whether it is stress, loneliness, guilt, fear, or keeping up with the Joneses, read Traveling Light by Max Lucado. This is such an easy read and is so encouraging. It can be so hard to let go of those burdens to really find the peace and freedom to live the life you were meant to live. This book helps you see those obstacles from a different lens. I have read it multiple times as I tend to worry a lot!
Those books have been so encouraging to me, and I hope others can find encouragement from them as well! Whether or not you choose to work outside the home is a personal decision, and you obviously have to do what is best for your family. There are going to be pros and cons either way. Whatever we choose, let's be intentional about it!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Totally Target has tons of Target deals.
Southern Savers has deals and coupons, much like Krazy Coupon Lady and Money Saving Mom.
Thanks everyone! These are all so great! Let's check them out!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
For awesome deals like mine at Target, focus on these things: print the Target coupons directly from the Target website. If they are Target store coupons, then you can "stack" them with manufacturer coupons that you clip from the paper.
When checking out the Target ad in the Sunday paper, I saw a deal where they would give you a $5 giftcard if you purchased two boxes of diapers. So, for each of the two boxes of diapers, I stacked a Target coupon with a manufactuer coupon. That gave me over $5 in savings per box. Then I got another $5 off with the giftcard. It was a great deal.
For the cereal, I had a Target coupon for one box of Kellogg's cereal free with the purchase of another box of Kellogg's cereal. So, I stacked that with a manufactuer's coupon for the Kellogg's cereal I was going to purchase, and I ended up with two boxes of cereal practically free.
For the baby wipes, I had a 2 75-cents-off-1 coupons. So I picked up travel wipes which made them practically free!
Walgreens is a totally different story. First off, the Walgreens ad in the Sunday paper is a must. Not only does it contain Walgreens coupons, but it advertises sale items in addition to the weekly Register Rewards items. Register Rewards is very cool. For instance, last week Huggies diapers were a Register Rewards featured item. If you bought Huggies, when your receipt was printed, you were also given these Register Rewards coupons for $4-$6 to use on your next purchase. This is essentially like a giftcard that prints out at the register. You want to check the Walgreens ad to see if you use any of the RR items that week, then stock up while you can.
Finally, HEB is one that I had to learn on my own... without the help of the Krazy Coupon Lady. HEB is more of a Texas thing. Like many people (I'm assuming), we've always just tossed those weekly grocery store circulars in the recycle bin without giving them a second glance. That was our first mistake. Look at those grocery circulars! They show you their sales and deals for the week. Then you can compare those to your coupons and really formulate your strategy. Some examples: Large Colgate toothpaste was on sale for 97 cents. I had a coupon for 75 cents off. So, I got a large thing of toothpaste for only 22 cents. This was awesome. They also have deals like "buy a name brand spaghetti sauce and get an HEB brand spaghetti sauce free." They have deals like that each week. So, with my coupon for the name brand spaghetti sauce, I got two jars of spaghetti sauce practically free.
The thing with coupons is that you buy things in cycles... stock up on spaghetti sauce, toothpaste, and diapers this week, and next week it will be something else. Fresh foods you will still purchase reguarly, but for those items with a longer shelf life, do yourself a favor and stock up when there's a great deal!
Monday, February 7, 2011
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The main topics for my blog will be as follows:
-Family, Parenting, Babies, Kids, Moms
-Saving, Couponing, Shopping, Deals
-Gift Ideas, Boutiques
-Must-have products, Diapers, Toys
-Working, Staying at Home