Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Couponing According to Me

I absolutely love couponing. It wasn't always this way though. I hate to admit but I was one of those people who categorized couponers with old ladies who have nothing else to do with their lives.

Then I saw Extreme Couponing on TLC. I sat there with my cousin and was absolutely amazed that people can save that much money on the things that I always pay full price for. I then started small, I would buy a paper and clip the coupons I thought I would use and then they would just sit in and pile and eventually be thrown away because they had expired.

I decided to get more serious about it after I joined a Facebook group that was saving a lot of money, but doing it realistically, not the "extreme" way. I am in no way, shape or form an extreme couponer.

I do not buy 10+ papers a week.
I do not go to the store and steal inserts out of papers I don't intend on buying.
I do not buy 30+ of an item that I am not going to use just because I got it for free.
I do not clear shelves.

The TLC show Extreme Couponing has definitely caused some problems for us normal couponers. It shows completely ridiculous couponing tactics and the stock piles are just crazy. Who is going to use 100 bottles of mustard in the next year or two before it expires? At that point they are just doing it because they can, not to better their families.

I have bought things that I am not going to use if I can get them for free. I also donate those items to people who will use them.

I coupon because it has seriously helped my family economically and I can not believe that I used to pay full price for things like toothpaste, body wash and deoderant which I now almost always get for free or almost free.

Some couponing pet peeves:
-I hate the dirty looks that I get from cashiers who God forbid have to scan my coupons. How dare I?? Right? Why did couponing become such a negative thing to people?
-Then there are the dirty looks from fellow shoppers. How am I bothering you? Go to a different line if you can't stand to wait for my coupons to be scanned. I have to sit and wait while the person in front of me counts $10 in pennies, or when the person can't get their EBT card to work. Why can't someone be pateint for coupons too?
-Shelf clearers. Why yes dog treats for free is a really good deal. But you have to buy 80?? Save some for other people.

Being a couponer has opened my eyes that anyone who has the time can cut coupons and be as dedicated to it as you want, but when your local paper prints out free money every week, why not take advantage??  To me, what no longer makes sense is paying full price.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I missed it!

Mason finally did it! He for real crawled! But I wasn't home.

As I was leaving my Scentsy party last night, I looked at my phone and saw that I had a text from Dan.

"Mason crawled 4 steps" is what it said. How ironic is it that I am a stay at home mom but I miss out on one of his firsts.

It is really ok with me though. His Daddy got to see him crawl for the first time and that is special because I feel like he misses out on so much when he is at work all the time.

My baby is getting so big. : (

This is not the time Mason first started crawling, but this is him and his Daddy practicing :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My handsome little boy at the pumpkin patch picking out his very first pumpkin.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Terrible Blogger

I have been a terrible blogger lately. I haven't updated since July! It is now the middle of October. A lot has gone on around here since July! Mason now sits up on his own, waves, dances whenever he hears music and sometimes when there is no music, gives kisses, is absolutely obsessed with anything electronic and will try to get it any way possible. He even throws little fits when I won't let him have things (oh no! how can this be starting already?)

Mason is crawling all over the place now too, army crawling that is. He doesn't care how he does it as long as he can get to what he wants. He loves getting into his Daddy's CDs, and his new favorite thing is getting into the dog's food.

The other day I was making him some food and I saw that he was over at the dog food bowls. So I went and picked him up and sat down to feed him. He looked at me funny and then opened his mouth and a piece of dog food popped out. Omg this child...

Then last night his Daddy was watching him while I got dinner ready. Dan was puttering between the living room and dining room trying to pick up before dinner. All of a sudden I hear Mason cough a couple of times and then a big splash, then Dan yells that he needs help. I run in the living room and everything that was in Mason's stomach was now on his playmat. (He had just nursed by the way) Mason had his very first projectile vomit and it was disgusting. As I was helping Dan clean it up I noticed that there were paper towel chunks in it and a paper towel sitting next to Mason. Mason had been eating a paper towel on his Daddy's watch. Where he got a paper towel from we aren't sure. We are thankful that he didn't choke and that it didn't cause some serious problems. I think Dan has learned his lesson that Mason is no longer the little immobile baby that you can leave in one spot and he will still be there when you come back from the other room.

I think this child is going to keep us on our toes for the next 18 years.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How to: Applesauce

I have already made carrots and forgot to document the process but here is what I did to make applesauce.

1. Peel and core apples

2. Put in a saucepan and put enough water to coat the bottom.

3. Cook the apples until tender (about 10 minutes)

4. This is my apples after they were cooked.

5. Put in food processor with liquid on the bottom depending on how thick you want it.

6. Put in ice cube trays and put in freezer.

7. Remove from freezer when frozen and put in labeled freezer bags. Return to freezer.

It was very easy to make the applesauce. I made some plain and some with cinnamon. Mason has yet to try them but I hope he likes it!!

Next to make will be sweet potatoes!


I was so nervous going into my first weigh in. I am not sure what I was really afraid of though. I guess I was just hoping that all of the dieting I had been doing was working. Changing everything about what you eat isn't an easy thing to do but after I stepped on the scale at the meeting and heard that I was down 7.8 lbs it was so worth it!!

I am really loving this diet. I don't feel deprived because I can still have a treat once in a while and when I am really hungry I can just snack on fruits and veggies since they are 0 points.

Some motivational words that I heard on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition a couple of weeks ago: Losing the weight makes me feel better than the food ever will.

I love that, it is so true. I have high hopes for next weeks weigh in but they already told me not to expect to lose than much next time since last week it was probably water weight.

Thinking good thoughts for Thursday!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weight loss

Two posts in one day?? I'm on a roll.

I thought I would track my weight loss on here to either get inspired from other's comments and support or to inspire someone else to get healthier.

I started Weight Watchers last Thursday, so almost a week strong. I am finally motivated to do something and to feel healthier. I have tried WW online before, but it was just a free trial, it didn't last long. This time we are actually paying for it and my husband is counting points right along with me. I think it is going to work for me this time.

My husband is being a great support system for me. He is serious about losing weight also so it is really helping me.

The weight was just falling off after I had Mason. I was breastfeeding (still am) and was just losing all of the baby weight like crazy. Then it just stopped coming off and starting to come back. I was about 15 lbs under my prepregnancy weight a few weeks after I had Mason and now I am only 5 lbs under my prepregnancy weight. I blame it on eating like crap after I had Mason. I had GD during my pregnancy so I wasn't able to eat a lot of things so I just went crazy when I could eat whatever again.

I will write what I like about WW every week, what is keeping me motivated, what is hard and so on. I will also let you know every week if I have lost any weight.

Only two more days until weigh in. I am so excited, but kind of nervous! I hope I lost weight!!

So far what I like: Feeling good about what I am eating.
Keeping me motivated: The thought of weighing in in front of people in two days.
What is hard: Kicking my boredom eating habit.

Our Breastfeeding Journey

I have been a horrible blogger this past month. I have been running around like a crazy person trying to get everything ready for Mason's baptism which was May 29th and just starting to get out of the house and enjoy the summer weather.

Anyways... Here is the breastfeeding post I promised. The following is all about boobs :)

Before I even got pregnant I always thought there was no way I would be breastfeeding. I remember thinking how do you know that they are getting enough and I can't imagine all of the anxiety that comes with that. I also thought it would be weird. To put it frankly, I was uneducated about it and I believe that most of our society is.

When I became pregnant I was an active member of a pregnancy board on the bump.com. I began to learn more and more information about breastfeeding and read stories from women who had nursed their previous children. I read about it in my pregnancy books and I decided that I would at least give it a try. I told myself I would go in with an open mind and I would try to make it work for the health of my child but if it didn't work out then I wouldn't beat myself up over it.

Mason was born and the nurses at my hospital knew I was planning on breastfeeding so they helped me start this new journey that Mason and I had to both learn together. Mason latched immediately and it was an amazing sight to see. I remember Dan and I both saying wow.

Mason did fine latching on to the right side but not the left side so the nurses gave me a nipple shield. A nipple shield is kind of like a bottle nipple would be that you put over your nipple to help the baby latch. I became dependent on the nipple shield and I ended up using it on both sides to even get him to eat at all.

When we got home from the hospital three days after Mason was born, I was still learning how to nurse. Mason would scream and cry when trying to get him to latch. He would get so upset. It really took a toll on Dan and I and I kept trying to tell myself it would get better. I had started to realize those fears of him not getting enough that I had before I was pregnant were now a reality. One desperate night, Mason was screaming and it was really late. Dan was frustrated with trying to help Mason to latch and I was on the verge of tears. Out of exhaustion Dan told me to just give him some formula. At this point I had my heart set on nursing my child and I refused to give up yet. I walked Mason around his bedroom and calmed him down. The next day it finally started to get better. I had to use the nipple shield to get him to eat but it was working! What I later realized is that my milk hadn't come in yet. After a c-section it can sometimes take your body a little bit longer for your milk to come in. So if you are determined don't give up.

The nipple shield was a pain. The perks of breastfeeding is that you don't have to worry about a bunch of supplies like bottles, nipples, formula and so on. I was dependent on this nipple shield and everytime I tried to get him to nurse without it he would get frustrated and I would just go back to the shield. Nursing with the nipple shield started taking longer and longer. He would nurse for 45 minutes at a time on one side and still not be satisified. I decided I had to get him off of the shield. I just kept trying without it. It was frustrating at times but he got used to it. I was so happy to tell Dan that I didn't need it any longer.

Without the nipple shield comes a lot more pain though. The shield was acting as a barrier to protect me. Well without that barrier came the horrible pain from raw and chapped nipples. I would actually lose my breath from the pain when he would first latch on. It would feel better after a minute but the anticipation of pain that would come with nursing was making me dread it everytime. I was thinking about giving up. I remember thinking how much easier my life would be if I didn't nurse. We could leave the house whenever. I could leave whenever. I wouldn't have a baby who was completely dependent on me for his food source, therefore making me his main caretaker ALWAYS. I wouldn't have to worry about where we were when he was hungry or where I was going to feed him. But then the pain started to get better and I realized I loved spending this special time with my son. It is crazy how pain can make you question everything you thought was important for so long.

I stuck through it and it got better for me. I am not comforable nursing in public even though many are. I am afraid of what someone might say to me or the looks I will get. This is something I shouldn't be afraid of but in our society many people think it is unnatural to breastfeed and feel as if it is there place to say so. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing that there is between a mother and a child and I wish more people would take the time to educate themselves. I have heard of people telling nursing mothers to go to the bathroom to breastfeed because it was making them uncomfortable. How would you like to have to eat in a bathroom?

If we are out doing something with Mason and he gets hungry I just go to the car and feed him. I am comfortable doing that. I hope someday I have the confidence to nurse where ever. I hope someday I have the balls to tell someone who is staring or judging to shove it. For those who do nurse in public I say it's amazing and you inspire me to someday do the same.

Mason is turning 5 months old this week and he is still exclusively breastfed. I feel proud that my baby is getting all of his nourishment from me. I feel thankful that he is thriving, happy and healthy and I have a huge part in it. I feel like I am doing the best for my child. It wasn't an easy road for me through the cluster feeding for hours, Mason wanting to eat every hour, mastitis (infection from breastfeeding), struggles with pain and isolation and so on. I am glad I stuck with it though. I feel as if I have bonded with my child so much and I am giving him so many benefits by not thinking of myself throughout these past 5 months. My goal is to nurse him until he is a year old. I pray that I will be lucky enough that it works out for me.

Just to be clear: I in no way am against formula feeding. I believe that it is a great option for those that breastfeeding does not work out for. I do believe that breastfeeding should be the first choice though. Choosing not to breastfeed for selfish reasons is not okay to me. Once you have a child it is no longer about you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mason's Birth Story

I know I promised my journey with breastfeeding for my next post but I realized I have never posted Mason's birth story. So before I forget I need to get it down. It's only been about 4 months...

At the end of my pregnancy I was at the Dr. at least 2-3 times a week for non stress tests and ultrasounds to check Mason's size and amniotic fluid levels. I had to have these because I was considered high risk due to Gestational Diabetes. I also had protein in my urine occasionally and high blood pressure once in a while.

At one of my specialist appointments in Buffalo at the end of 38 weeks, I asked about this horrible rash I had all over my body and what I can do for it. The Dr. told me that there was nothing that was going to help it other than get the baby out and I had developed PUPPS. I wouldn't wish this on ANYONE. It is the worst feeling in the world. Anyways the specialist told me she would be writing a report to my regular OB and tell him that she recommends Mason be delivered at 39 weeks.

Fast forward a day and I hadn't felt Mason move very much in 24 hours. My OB wanted me to come in immediately for a NST (non stress test). Mason made a liar out of me and started moving like crazy once we got there. Good news though: They got the letter from the specialist and was having me come in on Monday 01/10/11 to start the induction process.

On the 10th. I was so ready to get the show on the road. I was itching all over my body. I could barely move because of sciatic nerve pain in my right hip area and I was sick of the GD diet which consists of pretty much nothing. I spent the day with my cousin getting last minute things ready like packing my hospital bag and buying snacks and goodies for my hospital stay.

When Dan got home he grabbed all of our things, plus Mason's things to get him home, said a tearful goodbye to my first babies (my dogs) and we were off to the hospital.

They checked me in around 6pm and the first thing they were going to try was cervadil. I was not dilated whatsoever and Mason was very high up. My Dr. inserted the cervadil which was incredibly painful and would be back to check in 12 hours. I had painful contractions one on top of the other for the entire 12 hours and got no sleep.

The next morning after my 12 hours were up I asked the nurse when the cervadil could come out because I was in a lot of pain. She took it out and my Dr. came to check me about an hour later. Absolutely no progress. My Dr. started talking c-section. I didn't care at this point and to be honest I had expected it with all the talk throughout my pregnancy of Mason being such a big baby.

The prep for the section began with tons of fluids being pumped into me so that my blood pressure didn't plummet during the surgery. That did wonders on my already swollen legs and feet. The whole day was a waiting game. I was waiting for another mom to deliver her baby. When she was done then it was my turn. I thanked God I wasn't having to get him out of old natural way after listening to her scream down the hall. That would have made me want to pack up and run out the door.

On a diet of ice chips, I waited and waited until finally the nurse said she was going to prep me for surgery. I won't go into many details for this part but getting a catheter in is NOT a pleasant experience!

I drank this horrible liquid to neutralize the acid in my stomach and we were off to the operating room.

I had to go in alone, while Dan waited in the hallway. I got my spinal which made the lower half of my body feel insane. I really have no words to explain how it felt. Dan finally could come in, they raised the blue sheet so we couldn't see anything and cut me open.

I didn't feel anything, to be honest the most unpleasant experience was the oxygen thing in my nose! I looked over at Dan and he was turning this nice shade of gray. I spent most of the surgery trying to talk him down to keep him from passing out or throwing up. Sounds a little reversed if you ask me.

Within a few minutes Mason was born. At exactly 2:53pm on 01/11/11 at 9lbs 5oz. Mason Lawrence Berry entered the world. He cried immediately and started peeing right when he came out. Dan started to feel better after a few minutes so the Dr. let him get up and see his son. Mason scored a 9/9 on his apgar and my Dr. said he looked nothing like a typical GD baby. His blood sugar was perfect and he was very pink. I was so proud.

Dan went off into the nursery with Mason while I got put back together. This was seriously the most relaxing time of my life. They gave me some kind of drug to relax me and I was about to take the most amazing nap of my life when they told me I was all done. I actually was sad it was done because I was feeling so good. Strange I know.

I got wheeled back to my room and my family was there to greet me. Mason was brought to our room shortly after and I got to hold my baby for the first time. I stared at him in absolute awe. He was making the most beautiful sighing noises in his sleep and I was in love.

And so is the story of how Mason entered the world. Nothing crazy but that day absolutely changed my life.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What I have learned in 3 months

My little man is now three months, 14 weeks exactly tomorrow. Where has the time gone? The past three months have been challenging at times but absolutely amazing. One thing I have learned along this crazy journey is don't let people's crazy/horror stories scare you. Chances are you won't have the same experience at them. Every person and every pregnancy/baby is different.

I can't count the times I heard the following when I was either pregnant or Mason had just arrived:
You just wait (This is a VERY famous one, I still hear it.)
You think it is hard being pregnant, it is so much worse when they are here. Being pregnant is EASY. (Totally not the case for me.)
You think you are tired now, you just wait.

I could go on, but you get the point. Looking back yes there were days that I was tired, but it was worth it and honestly it wasn't THAT bad. People made it seem like I was going to fall over and die. Again, just take people's unsolicited advice with a grain of salt. You will have your own experience and that it that.

Another thing I have learned in the past three months is throw your plans out the window. I had so many things in my mind that I would never do as a parent and other things that I was all about. Well that all changed when Mason arrived. 

I said I would NEVER have Mason in my bed.
Reality: There were nights I was so tired and Mason wouldn't go to sleep that he would fall asleep on me and I would let him and doze off myself.
I said I wasn't going to give Mason a pacifier because of nipple confusion for at least a month or two.
Reality: He had a pacifier at the hospital on his 2nd day of life.
I said I would pump to get a huge freezer stash so I could stop breastfeeding at 6 months and still feed him with breast milk for a year.
Reality: I think pumping is a pain, and I haven't done it in weeks and Mason hasn't had a bottle in probably a  month now.
I said that I would be cloth diapering as soon as he fit in the diapers.
Reality: Mason got a rash and I couldn't use creams with cloth diapers. He no longer has a rash but I haven't made the transition yet just because it is easy to throw diapers away. (I am making the switch soon though, so I will be writing all about it.)

The lesson here is don't have too many expectations. You could just be setting yourself up for disappointment. Yes have parenting ideas and plans, but if it doesn't work out exactly the way you wanted it to then revise and move on. Happy mama = happy baby.

Speaking of happy mama, I will be writing all about my triumphs and struggles with breastfeeding in my next blog post.

I also wanted to add a couple of things that I COULD NOT live without these past three months:
"Mr. Monkey" Wubbanub pacifier. Mason LOVES this thing! He can hold onto it so it comforts him plus if it falls out of his mouth he can put it back in. We love wubbanubs in this house!

Also a must have in this house are swaddleme blankets. Mason can't sleep without being swaddled, trust me we have tried it! He is now blissfully sleeping through the nights, on most nights at least, and I have the swaddleme blankets to thank. It is great for those who don't know how to swaddle using a plain old blanket and the velcro closures makes it a lot harder for those baby arms to make a break for it!

Happy Tax day everyone and thanks for visiting! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

The beginning of a family

The Berry's went from a couple to a family on 01/11/11 at 2:53pm when we welcomed baby Mason into the world.

I had prepared for months and months for his arrival but I never could imagine what meeting him for the first time would feel like. It is such an overflow of emotions that I never knew I even had. It is just something you have to experience for yourself to know what I am talking about.

I was recovering from a c-section and I was tired but those first few days were great. I didn't have to cook, anything I needed was there with the click of a button and if I needed a break I could have one. Not to mention the housekeeper who came everyday..

We all know this isn't reality, so this blog will be just that: the reality of parenthood. The inevitable "now what?" when you walk into your own home, answered. So sit back and enjoy our adventures with breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, cooking, cleaning (or not) and live and learn parenting- Berry style.