How Introverts “Bond”

So this evening, my hubby took (6) of our little ducklings out of town for some Christmas shopping, leaving my eldest son and I alone at home. This is a rarity.

Not sure how many of you, my readers, are Myers-Brigg’s nuts, but I am an INFJ and my son is an INTJ. We are so similar… we either are two peas in a pod cuz we “get” each other, or we drive each other crazy cuz we’re too similar (thankfully, usually the former). 🙂

We seem to be the oddballs out of the rest of our gang. Most everyone else here is extroverted and/or strong-willed and/or assertive and/or loud. My son and I are the quiet ones that need a crap-ton of alone time to rejuvenate, are moody, take a long time to chill, and are totally cool with zoning out from the world with our laptops.

Being in a large family can be a bit trying for us, for sure, sometimes.

But this evening has been a glorious break from the hum-drum of normal life. I surprised my son by picking him up after basketball practice (he was expecting to walk home), I treated him to Subway for dinner (he freakin’ LOVES sandwiches), watched Zack King for our dinner entertainment (a digital/filming genius), and now, we’re both in the kitchen, on our own laptops, in our own little worlds (mine: school prep & blogging… my son: playing diep.io.), completely content & happy. We’re bonding. And it’s great fun. Our love tanks are being filled by each quiet moment that passes. And tomorrow, we will feel extremely close to one another and we’ll forever remember this evening as a beautiful night together.

It’s SO fun having a kid that totally understands me, and I him.

Here are a few humorous cartoons describing the inner world of an introvert. LOL

 

Any other introverts out there that are TOTALLY cool with an evening at home alone?!!!

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Earn Cash for Internet Searches and Online Purchases?

Have you ever heard of Swagbucks before (http://www.swagbucks.com/)? In a nutshell, you get paid for searching the internet and making online purchases. If you’re already doing those things, seriously… why not get paid for it?!

swag

There are so many other ways to earn with Swagbucks though!
Check out this Beginners Guide to Using Swagbucks (http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/how-to-use-swagbucks/) for a quick and informative how-to.

Here’s another article that explains how to maximize the benefits from Swagbucks Rewards: http://www.edwardantrobus.com/…/how-to-maximize-the-benefit…

swag-bucks-currency

I’ve been using Swagbucks for web searching/online purchasing for a couple years now and we’ve earned free meals, gift certificates to our favorite stores, Amazon gift cards, etc.

If you sign up for Swagbucks, would you be so kind as to use my referral code?: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/GFwifeandmom. Then, when you’re all signed up, share the referral code Swagbucks gives you with your friends and family and boost your chance to earn more swag. Share the Swag love .

If you’re already using Swagbucks, I’d love to hear what you personally think of it. How do you use it? Has it worked for you? What all have you earned from it?

I honestly have nothing negative to say about it as it has been very useful and profitable for us. Love me some Swag. Hope you will give it a try and earn some cash for stuff you’re doing online already!

Bag, Bag, Bag!

We save money by reusing bags. All kinds of bags. Like…

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Baggies.

Be it snack, sandwich, quart, or gallon baggies, often times you can reuse them.

Now, if I’m storing something greasy or slimy (like pepperoni or a hotdog)… or something super fragrant (like an onion or garlic toast)… or something sticky (like prunes)… I most likely won’t reuse bags.

But if I was storing something benign like crackers, Cheerios, peanuts, M & M’s, candy, etc., I will most definitely reuse the bag. Why waste and throw away? Either shake out crumbs (if there is any)… maybe do a quick rinse if necessary (and set out to air dry)… and reuse it for later.

Reuse for food, of course.

But I’ll also reuse old bags for getting rid of stinky stuff: like poopy diapers or rotten leftovers. Seals in the smell. PU

Or if I’m throwing away something liquid-y but chunky (like a soup that died in the fridge), something I don’t want to run down the drain, I’ll dump it in an old baggie and then thrown away in the regular kitchen trash.

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Who else keeps a “bag of bags”? Come on, show of hands.

Well, we sure do. Those bags are SO dang useful. (Thanks Walmart & Kroger!) We seriously use them all.the.time.

Biggest most consistent use for us is as bathroom trash can liners. They fit perfectly. I know, not terribly classy, but they work and it saves us money. I’ll often leave a bag or two at the bottom of the trash for ease of emptying out the trash the next time.

We also will use them for poopy diapers. Thankfully Miss Little Lamb is still exclusively breastfed and so her poo’s don’t smell too bad. But man, when they start eating solids, HELLO. This isn’t quite as effective at trapping in smells as a seal-able baggie, but these do work well enough to at least get it out to alley trash without dying.

But for storing, carrying, and all around every day usage, can’t beat these bags!

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And weekly grocery shopping.

We’ve used these bags for SO long. Yeah, some of those are Windows 7 bags. That’s dating them. But they are so useful. Since we do 90% of our shopping at Aldi, it saves us $$ each week, that we don’t have to purchase bags to take our groceries home in. I know it’s only pocket change, but it adds up. Especially if you’re purchasing weekly groceries for a family of 9!

 

There’s a monetary gain to reusing bags… but yeah, it’s also better on the environment as well.

So reuse those bags! 🙂

Get Inexpensive Medical Tests Done!

Here’s how our family saves a decent amount of money on medical matters! This may help you and your family save some cash as well!

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Have any of you ever heard of www.RequestATest.com.

A few years ago, I was needing some blood labs drawn for my mild hypothyroid condition. At the doctor’s office, a basic routine thyroid lab costs over $100 (and that was a few years ago- I have no idea what it costs today). When talking to my girlfriend, who also has thyroid issues (and who regularly gets labs drawn), she suggested I check out Request A Test.

It’s SO easy and inexpensive to get labs through them… WITHOUT needing the doctor to call them in. YOU can call them in.

If you know what specific test(s) you need (or have a general idea)- be it blood, urine, stool, etc- you can easily search for them on their website. They have just a TON of labs available- common ones, uncommon, and everything in-between. Heart health, hormones (male/female), celiac, autoimmune, cancer, STDs, Lyme, heavy metals, etc. If you don’t see what you need, they have “additional testing available”. Simply call them at (888-732-2348) to inquire. They could probably hook you up with whatever you are needing.

So, you pick which lab(s) you want (either “ala carte” or in a “package” deal), put them in your shopping cart, and go to checkout. There’s usually a “special of the month” promo code- check it out on their home page and see if it applies to what you’re ordering. Prices per individual test/package are easily seen. Sometimes there’s even a price slash or sale available.

At checkout, they have you search for a local lab near you by address, town/state, or zip code. Just click on the lab you want to go to.

Once you hit the finalize button, you will receive 2 emails… one is the receipt and the other is the actual order confirmation. These are basically just for your records. You do NOT need to bring these with you when you visit the lab. An order will also be sent (from Request A Test) to the lab that you requested.

At the lab that I go to (LabCorp), it’s not imperative that I make an appointment, although I could make one either by phone or online. Maybe some lab offices request that you make an appointment. But I’ve never had to.

Be sure and look at the requirements for your test! If you clink on test “info”, it will tell you what the requirements are, if any. It also appears on your receipt and order confirmation. Some labs request that you fast several hours prior to getting your lab done. Glad I looked for myself today because I ordered my tests this morning and was ready to go to the lab. But then I saw that for the CMP I needed to have fasted for 9-12 hrs. I’d already eaten breakfast at this point. :-/ So… I’ll go tomorrow morning. Be sure and look!

Just an FYI, the receipt will come to your email inbox right away. The order confirmation may take some time to come though. Mine comes in fairly quickly, 5-10 min. But depending on circumstances, it could take longer. Do NOT go to the lab until you have received that second email, the order confirmation. When you get that confirmation, you now know the lab has your order in. THEN you can go to the lab.

So anyway… that basically how it goes: search/find, order, pay, find a lab, and get your test(s) done! Easy-peasy.

Results come back fairly quickly. They can either be sent directly to you doctor or you can have them sent to you via email or you can view them online (securely).

Today I ordered a Comprehensive Blood Count (CBC), a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), and a Thyroid Basic Panel w/ TSH (T4, T3 uptake, Free Thyroxine Index, & TSH) for a grand total of: $107!              (CBC– $29, CMP– $29, Thyroid– $49 = $107)

Un-real! No joke!

So seriously, if you’re needing labs, check out Request A Test!!!

Let me know if you catch yourself a deal and save some money doing this!!!

This is a fabulous way to get labs done if you don’t have insurance, are self-pay, your insurance doesn’t cover certain tests, have highly sensitive tests you want/need to take but want confidentiality, need results fast, are monitoring your own health for personal info, don’t want to have to go (or pay) for a doctor’s visit every time you need a routine test done, etc. No hidden fees or pricing. Super easy to use website. Great customer service.

I highly recommend Request A Test!

 

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I’ve FINALLY found my focus!

As many of you have probably noticed, I haven’t updated this blog since the birth of our seventh child, a beautiful little girl: Ivy Jean (aka Miss Little Lamb). Be still my heart, she is the sweetest little surprise gift from God EVER!!! Difficult pregnancy, difficult labor and delivery, difficult start to breastfeeding, difficult getting her to sleep through the night…

BUT, I freakin’ wouldn’t change it for the world!!! She is AMAZING!!! You could offer me a trillion dollars for her and I’d never take it, I’d never let her go! I thank the Lord almighty above every day that I have her! What a blessed gift!

Even her brothers and sisters adore her. Since they’re all older now, they finally have the privilege of enjoying having a little baby in the home. We all, together: laugh with her, take turns holding her, change her diapers, give her baths, take pics and videos of her, make her smile and giggle, rejoice over her developmental milestones, burp her, rock her to sleep, cuddle with her, breathe in her sweetness… She’s precious and everyone is absolutely in love!

She was four months old, as of November 1st. *sigh*
Four months already?! Unbelievable! Going too fast!

Time, please slow down!!!

Many a time I’ve wanted to post here on the blog. But every time I would sit down to write, there was nothing there. My mind went blank. What should I say? What should I write about?

Blank-ness. (Is that a word?)

Fast-forward to just yesterday. I had a revelation in the shower. (Why is it that deep thoughts seem to happen in the bathroom. *snicker*) No but seriously, I had a line of thought run through my head absolutely out of nowhere:

Living on a dime with a part of nine!

Living on a dime with a party of nine? Hmmm… like, write about how we (a large family) live and thrive on a modest income? How we make the dollar stretch? How we save and scrimp? How we make food and possessions last? How we are frugal?

I have like a bazillion tricks up my sleeve (beyond just coupon usage and Amazon deals) on how we make things last over here. That’s something I’m very knowledgeable about, something I’ve learned very well these past 14 years, something I’m still learning, something that I could probably endlessly talk about.

When people come to me for help and advice, oftentimes it’s about how we do “it”, that is, survive life, survive in this economy, with 9 people and actually make it work.

So, I believe the Lord is leading me to make this the focus of my blog. I think my readers could benefit from taking a peek into the ins and outs of how we do things over here. Perhaps there’s something we do that would benefit someone else.

I certainly haven’t arrived. Nor am I (or will I) be the best blogger on the block about this topic. But I do believe I have something to share with people that might help them in their own lives. Maybe there’s other large (or small/medium) families out there that are struggling to make ends meet and could benefit from some of my tips? Maybe if someone could see how we do it, it would spur them on to stretch money? Maybe there’s other mom’s out there that don’t have the time to pick up a part time job to help ends meet, but they could do a thing or two to tighten the purse strings, things they’ve never thought of, that would help stretch their husband’s income?

We all bring something unique to the table. I think this is a knowledge that I’ve been blessed to learn. I believe it’s something I could bless others with.

So, if you’d like to learn how a family of nine lives on a dime (and thrives), stay tuned!!!

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Birth Story (Part 2)

At this point, I was entering into Transition. The “not so fun” phase.

I will just throw out pieces of what I remember. Some of it may be a little out of order, but I’ll do my best.

-I chose to labor in black gym shorts & a black tank top. (Right after the baby is born, the midwife immediately places the baby on my chest. Figured black would be the easiest to clean later.)
-every time a contraction came, I just kept thinking to myself, “open… everything open so Ivy can freely pass”. And the Scriptures that kept coming to mind were: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “when I am weak, then I am strong”. Christ would give me the strength to do this. He will make a way.
-when the Transition Phase seemed to go on too long, the midwife did an internal exam to see if I was fully dilated– yep, I was!
-the midwife (accidentally? purposefully?) ruptured the sac and there was a HUGE gush of fluid. I remember everyone going “whoa, that’s a lot of fluid!” I asked if that was ok and was assured it was fine. I was confused because I SWEAR my sac ruptured earlier. It was explained to me that there are apparently (2) layers to the sac and what burst earlier in the day was the outer sac. My midwife obviously got the main sac.
-when she ruptured the sac, the contractions got crazy intense!
-I knew it was time to push. I was fully dilated and Ivy’s head was only (2) knuckles length away from coming out.
-Crazy thing is, I never got the desire to push/bear down. The midwife and her assistant tried getting me into *so* many positions– but nothing felt right/good. All I was doing for a good chunk of time was simply riding out the contractions. This happened to me one other time, with my second birth (Master War Bird). I was fully dilated but had no desire to push. I was SO tired I just gave up. My son’s head was so close to coming out that they couldn’t/wouldn’t do a c-section. They ended up using a suction cup thing to pull him out. He had a nice banana-shaped head. *wink* Part of my exhaustion with that birth was due to the hospital not letting me eat or drink for hours on end. But with Ivy’s birth (as with all my home births) I was freely allowed and encouraged to eat and drink. So I had the stamina to push– just didn’t have the desire to.
-Fiiiiiiinally we found a good birthing position. My hubby sat on the footrest and I sat on a birthing stool in front of him, between his legs. From there, hubby could easily hold me. The midwife sat Indian-style in front of me. I put my feet on her knees, wrapped my arms around her neck, and when a contraction came I was to pull her head toward me and push, moan, groan, etc with all my might. Let’s just say I made a lot of noise and I felt bad later for my midwife’s poor ear drums.

Birthing stool

The stool looked kinda like this.

birth

-the whole time I was pushing, I just kept thinking “only 2 knuckles… only 2 knuckles… I can do this…”
-pushing was SO HARD. Neither did I have the desire to push, but I also didn’t have the ab strength to appropriately push her out. This pregnancy I struggled with diastasis recti:

diastasis-recti

-I found out afterward that having D.R. can make pushing very difficult because the ab and pelvic floor muscles used to push correctly are very weak. That explains a TON because pushing was BY FAR the hardest most unpleasant part of my whole birth experience. Even thinking back on it makes me cringe.
-I remember crying out, “this hurts so bad” and the midwife responding, “honey, the only way to make the pain stop is to get this baby out. So PUSH.”
-2 knuckles… 2 knuckles…
-the midwife used lubrication jelly on her hand to gently massage and stretch the opening so the baby’s head could more easily pass
-FINALLY, with one more giant push, Ivy’s head came out. One more push, and her shoulders and the rest of her body came out.
-RELIEF
-Ivy was caught by the midwife, lightly wrapped in a receiving blanket, and placed in my lap & arms
-for some reason, my body was shivering and shaking
-I hate to admit this, but birth was SO HARD that when Ivy was born, I did not have that giant wash of connection/mommy high. All I was thinking was, “it’s OVER! It’s finally OVER!” I mean, I held her and loved on her. But I felt disconnected at first.
-we waited until the cord stopped pulsating, the midwife’s assistant clamped it off and hubby cut the cord. Soon after that, the placenta was birthed.
-the midwife inspected the cord and placenta. She gave hubby and I and my mom a bit of education about it all. Man… it’s a nasty looking organ… but it’s absolutely fascinating what it did for Ivy and I and how it worked. Everything looked great!
-I got wrapped up in blue absorbancy pads and I slowly walked upstairs to take an herbal bath with Ivy. (Not sure who had the baby at this point.) The herbs help heal the perineum area and dry up the baby’s cord.

 

herbal bath

Purchased from www.inhishands.com

-my mom went upstairs to help me with the bath. I think everyone else was downstairs cleaning up the birth mess.
-my mom and I noticed I was bleeding quite a bit in the tub. I hurried up and nursed Ivy one side while in the tub. After nursing, my mom got her out of the tub, wrapped her in a towel and took her downstairs to be weighed and measured by the midwife. My mom came back upstairs and helped me out of the tub.
-I went back downstairs and sat on the couch for a while. Nursed Ivy on the other side. So many cramps. Ouch.
-I still had a lot of discomfort “down there” and I could literally feel gushes of blood. The midwife super wrapped me up good and helped me waddle to the bathroom. Once seated on the toilet, she pushed on tummy and palpitated my uterus. There was a LOT of blood… and clots… it kinda freaked me out. Thankfully I was not getting lightheaded or dizzy or anything. I remember bleeding a lot with my last baby (Miss Pebbles) and had to be given a suppository medication of some sort. Thankfully with all the palpitations between her and hubby every time I went to the bathroom, the clots and heavy bleeding leveled off. And thankfully I didn’t need any medication to stop the bleeding.
-I also began drinking liquid chlorophyll right away. Two bottles down over the weekend! Not exactly sure how it works, but it helps a LOT with bleeding and getting that managed. Nature’s Sunshine is my favorite brand. And it tastes good! Like liquid mint gum.

Capture
-so we got the bleeding regulated and the living room/birth mess got all cleaned up. At this time, it was probably 2a-ish? The midwife left. My mom was tired too so she retired upstairs to sleep. Hubby and I were too wound up to sleep so we watched a little tv before heading off to bed ourselves.

Well.. that’s about it concerning Ivy’s birth story. I suppose if I forgot anything, I will add it later. Probably should pick my hubby & mom’s brains for more details. Like I said, things got a little hazy for me. They’d remember more.

So glad our little lady is here and is now a part of the family. She is seriously the sweetest little thing. ❤❤❤❤ A true blessing from God. Fearfully and wonderfully made for sure!

Oh, and after a few nursings, bonding DEF took place between Ivy and I. 😍😍😍

Hmmm… and I suppose I should come up with a nickname for her like I did the other kids… I like “Miss Little Lamb”.

 

She’s here!!! Birth Story (Part 1)

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This was me 40 weeks + 2. My water broke at 7am. Prepping for our home birth!

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Meet Ivy Jean!!!

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Born safely at home (with a midwife) on (Friday) July 1, 2016 at 11:31p.

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She weighed 7 lbs & 14 oz and was 20-1/4″ in length.

 

The only one of our babies born with dark hair! We’re hoping she looks like her daddy! All our other babes take after my side. Which is crazy cuz I would have sworn he’d have the more dominant genetics.

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So after my water broke at 7am, I called my mother right away, as she was planning on attending the birth. Since we didn’t know how long it’d take to have this baby, we wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to get here. (She lives 3 hrs away.) I also called my mother-in-law to let her know what was happening and she so GRACIOUSLY took all six of our kids to her’s and dad’s house! I’ve never gone into labor that early in the day– it’s always started in the afternoon and then I’d have the baby in the middle of the night. We were actually planning on just having the kids stay with us. They’d go to bed and then wake up in the AM to see their new little sister. Well this time, it worked differently.

After calling our mother’s, we then called the midwife to give her a heads up. We weren’t ready for her to come yet. But at least she would know that tonight was the night.

Contractions were pretty mild all day. With the kids gone, though, it was nice to just be with my hubby and my folks. We ordered Mexican take-out for lunch, played board games, and listened to music all day. Hubby and I tried going down for a nap in the early evening, but by 7p it was impossible for me to sleep as my contractions had kicked in pretty hard. I was definitely having to work through them.

Hubby and I called the midwife to tell her it was time for her to come. And then we wandered back downstairs. As I was having to work through my contractions, my dad decided it was time to leave and head over to my sister’s house. LOL.

From this point on, things get a little blurry. I remember the midwife coming and not long afterward, her assistant came as well. My birthing team was finally all there!

During contractions, I rocked and rocked and rocked in our wooden rocking chair in the living room. I remember rocking so hard the floor was creaking something fierce and the rocker kept scooting across the floor. I’d have to get up at some point cuz I’d rocked all the way to the couch and we had to move the rocker back out. 😉

As I neared transition, everyone started buzzing around preparing for the birth… laying out the large visqueen, getting articles from the birth kit laid out, cooking up bath herbs on the stove (for mom & baby after birth), getting blue absorbancy mats laid out…]

 

More to come…