Saturday, June 30, 2012

What Happens During Childbirth?

Most of us (especially moms who have given birth) know the stages of labor, and what happens pretty much on a basic level. In nursing school we go over the physiology and danger signs, as well as various complications that may occur and how the physician may choose to deal with them.

But for the first time ever, a woman labored IN AN MRI MACHINE. What the what?! I guess this happened quite awhile ago, but they're now just releasing the MRI footage. It is absolutely fascinating! I tend to support natural birth, but whoever this woman is deserves a medal for agreeing to this. This kind of imagery may help to prevent and better deal with complications in the future.

What do you think? Huge step forward, or too much?

Watch it for yourself!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Single Mom on Food Stamps

I'm just going to say it.

I'm on food stamps.

And Medicaid.

Since the day my ex husband put me and my 37 week gestational age baby who had just gotten discharged from his NICU stay 2 weeks prior, I've been using YOUR TAX MONEY to pay for food for myself and my son.

It has also paid for every medical checkup and sick visit Eli has ever had. It's paid part of the medical bills I've incurred as part of my clinical depression and PTSD which resulted from my baby dying, my other baby being sick in the NICU for 45 days, and my husband cheating on me and abandoning me.

It has been a blessing. A true blessing. But lately I've seen these ecards going around Facebook and Pinterest:

I don't have any of these things besides the iPhone - I tan naturally outside, I'm not allowed to have fake nails as a nurse even if I wanted them, I don't have any tattoos. Sometimes I do have a fresh mani-pedi - that I did myself, while my child was asleep, with a selection of nail polish that I've been collecting over years. I'm sorry that it bothers you that I like to have some color on my nails, but let me remind you that a median price for a bottle of nail polish is about $7. If I use that color 10 times over the lifespan of the bottle, that's costing me $0.70 for that mani/pedi you're so offended by.

I do have an iPhone. For the first year after I got divorced (while I was on food stamps!!!) I had a crappy prepaid cell phone. Once I managed to make it into nursing school, though, we had required apps. They gave us an iPod Touch (and by "gave," I mean paid for with our special nursing fees that are added on top of tuition). Many of the required apps for school need an internet connection and I was finding that it was impractical to need to have WiFi every time I needed to look up a drug or study for a test, and I decided to purchase an iPhone. Judge me if you want. I didn't buy it to have the latest and greatest - I bought it because as a single mother, finding study time is hard enough and the iPhone is a great tool to be able to study on the go. Plus also? I didn't/don't pay for my iPhone with YOUR TAX DOLLARS. I pay for it with student loans, which I will have to pay back once I am graduated.

This one is almost funny. I do get to shop as much as I want - at thrift stores. Because you know, it takes awhile to find something presentable to wear when you're sifting through shit other people didn't want. As for living off child support, that's a complete joke. Every dime of my child support goes to childcare while I'm in school, and I have a balance left over after that. It doesn't pay for any of my child's clothes or activities or haircuts or any living expenses. It pays for daycare. That's it. I will admit that my state is generous in its food stamp formula - I get $367/month for me and E. That's $12/day... $6/day each.. $2 per person per meal. So while I do have enough to feed us, it's not as if we're eating steak and lobster every day. Just to clear that up.

I do have a nice pocketbook. I have this awesome one that holds all my cards and my *gasp* iPhone. It was $6 on clearance at Target. Do you know what else I have? I have two Juicy Couture handbags and a Coach Patchwork. I hardly ever carry them anymore, because of judgement like this. Those were bought for me as gifts by my ex husband while we were married and we had the money to do so. They're not in great enough condition to sell for any significant amount of money, and as all I got in the divorce was my personal belongings (no furniture, no dishes, no appliances, no shared property whatsoever) I feel justified in keeping these. They're mine, and I didn't buy them because you were buying me food with YOUR TAX DOLLARS. They were gifts, from a time when I wasn't on any assistance at all. I don't think that makes me a shitbag.

I'll end with this one:

This one shows some common sense. No one knows how I came to be on food stamps, just like no one knows how I got my iPhone. They don't know that over the summer I'm "donating" plasma twice a week to pay the bill. When I first started getting child support, I would hoard all of it in my wallet, terrified of losing it and not sure if/when I would get more. So I'm sure people judged the girl on food stamps with all the cash in her wallet. She must be playing the system, right?


Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

E isn't quite potty trained yet (I'll have to explain that in another post) so we're still loving our cloth diapers! My washing machine broke awhile ago and I had to 'sposie him for like two months. It totally killed me remembering how much it cost! Thankfully I got it fixed and we're back to our single mama budget friendly cloth! In celebration of that I decided to join the Fluffy Fourth of July giveaway. It's Rafflecopter so it's super easy to enter! Have fun!

Welcome to the Fluffy Fourth of July sponsored by Gnome’s Naturals and hosted by Life With Levi!
Whether you’re just starting out using cloth diapers or already a fluffy pro, this giveaway prize offers something for everyone.
Fluffy Fourth Ultimate Starter Pack
One lucky winner will receive the ULTIMATE cloth diaper stash starter pack, valued at over $415!!!
This amazing prize prize pack includes:
  • THREE ones & twos All In One Diapers
  • ONE AppleCheeks Bamboo Little Bundle
  • ONE AppleCheeks Microterry Little Bundle
  • TWO Tots Bots Easy Fit or Tini Fit Diapers
  • TWO Rumparooz G2 Pocket Diapers or Little Joey Newborn All In Ones
  • ONE Bummis Beautiful BASIC Kit
  • SIX Organic Cotton Prefold Diapers
  • ONE Bummis Super Snap Wrap
  • ONE Bummis Super Lite Wrap
  • TWO Snappis
  • ONE AppleCheeks Storage Sac Pail Liner
  • ONE M Monkey Foot Designs Wet Bag for when you're on the go.
  • ONE KalmSkin Travel Size Cloth Diaper Safe Rash Stick
  • ONE Bag of Rockin' Green Laundry Detergent
  • ONE Clean Cheeks Wipes Concentrate
  • ONE 6 Pack of AppleCheeks Cloth Wipes
  • ONE Mini Shower Diaper Sprayer
  • ONE Pack of AppleCheeks Flushable Diaper Liners

That's all the diapers AND accessories you need for 18 diaper changes!!
Gnome's Naturals is a cloth diaper and natural parenting store owned & operated by Lori Whitlock. As a mom of a toddler, Lori is always searching for great natural products for herself and her family. When she finds products that she loves, she sticks with them. Lori created Gnome's Naturals to share those products with you. As a cloth diaper blogger, Lori has tried almost every cloth diaper on the market and strives to carry only the best of the best.
In addition to some well known brands that Lori loves, Gnome's Naturals also carries work at home mom (WAHM) made items in the store. Make sure you check out the WAHM Spotlight section for products that are handmade by moms in North America. Lori is a huge proponent of moms supporting moms and she hopes that by retailing some mom-made items, she can help support them financially as well.
If you’re new to cloth diapering, Gnome’s Naturals offers several different cloth diaper trial packages. Beyond cloth diapers, Gnome’s Naturals also carries a great selection of baby carriers, baltic amber teething necklaces, breastfeeding products, and more. 
Ready To Win?
Just enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below.
All entries are optional – be sure to come back often to complete the daily entries, since the more entries you have, the more chances you have to win!
Giveaway open to residents of the US & Canada. Contest ends Friday, July 6th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Radio Rebel for Movie Night, plus Cloud Dough Craft!

Today I was babysitting the bf's kids while he was at work - a full 12 hours - and we had to find something to do! What better than a movie?!

The Disney Channel Original Movie Radio Rebel just came out to Redbox, so we reserved that from my iPhone (I had no idea they had an app! You can also follow them on Twitter and "like" them on Facebook!) and went to pick it up while we were there getting flour to make Cloud Dough.

I've seen great things about Cloud Dough on Pinterest - the recipe is just flour and baby oil - but I didn't have any baby oil around and I didn't want to buy some just for this, so I poked around the internet a bit and found that olive oil was an acceptable substitute.

So we trotted off to Walmart - a very different experience with 3 kids than it is with one. Good thing we found this nifty cart:

After we got home with our ingredients and our movie, 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of olive oil later we had this:

It was like wet beach sand - perfect for sand castles. The kids wanted it more doughy, though, so we added a bit more oil to see what would happen. They mixed it in themselves (and obviously my iPhone camera lens got a bit smudgy in the process!)

 For some reason they liked this better, and they made a ton of their favorite things with it. A ball, a cake, a robot, quick sand (?!) and a bunch of other things. While we were doing it and watching the movie, we talked about making our favorite things and how it's important to always be ourselves, just like Radio Rebel says!

The kids loved the modified cloud dough, and liked the movie. The scenes with music held their attention most - I think ages 3, 6, and 9 may have been a little young for this one. It was perfectly appropriate, but not an attention grabber for that age span. You can see my full review and #CouchCritics score on their website!  

It was a great activity though. For the full blow by blow, see my Google + Story!

  • I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions are honest and my own. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Why is Disney Pixar BRAVE Rated PG?

It's finally here! Disney Pixar's Brave hit theaters today. The trailers and previews have been floating around for quite awhile and I was so excited to see it!

I was super surprised to see that it was rated PG - not that that's a bad rating, it's just not what I've come to expect from Disney Pixar films. I didn't think too much of it though, since it was Disney, and went ahead and took E and my boyfriend and his kids (so ages {almost}3, 6 and 9 were present). 

E was absolutely enthralled with the 3D effects. As has become the norm, there was a short at the beginning that was just amazing, called La Luna. I was really worried about how he'd be at a movie, since the last time ended in him running up and down the aisles and us ultimately leaving about 30 minutes in, but he was glued to La Luna the entire time. He loved wearing his glasses and kept looking at me and making his surprised face at me every time something was "floating" in front of us. That being said, since it was a 7:00 movie and he hadn't napped, he was out like a light about 20 minutes into the actual movie. I have to admit I was a little grateful for that; he's getting better, but I still don't know how he'd do with a full length film! 

These guys add humor and fun - they
were the highlight of the movie for
the 6 year old girl!
The older kids were really excited to see the movie - they are predominantly Scottish so they felt a sense of pride that this movie was about their "heritage." It kept them entertained the entire time and when we left they were raving about it. The 6 year old girl was a fan of the silly parts, and the 9 year old boy loved the archery and the action in the movie. 

Everyone in our party loved it, and they are all pretty young... so why the PG rating? 

Some of the scenes in the movie are really pretty scary. I know I jumped a couple of times (of course, I'm a pretty jumpy person), so if your child is particularly frightened by movies I'd wait a bit for this one. The kids I took have all been exposed to lots of movies and did just fine, but for a sensitive child it may be too much.

There are some pretty intense scenes with the bears - like this one! 
As for what I thought of the movie, the moral of the story was excellent. I also have to admit -I teared up several times. The dynamic of the mother-daughter relationship is very relatable and beautifully portrayed. I really loved how Merida was such a strong character - she is the hero of the story and not the damsel in distress. The 3D effects were breathtaking- I just loved how they enhanced the movie but weren't gimmicky at all. 

All in all, this is a fabulous movie, and one that I would highly recommend  (especially for moms and daughters!). Just be sure that your little ones are up for a little bit of action - if they are, they'll love it!

Brave is rated PG by the MPAA for "some scary action and rude humor." I was kindly invited to attend a press screening of the movie, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are honest and my own. All media materials belong to Disney-Pixar. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Win a Stun Gun from Alyssa at Giveaway Overload!

Alyssa here... I'm so excited to be joined by some wonderful ladies for my 2,000 Facebook Fan Giveaway! I appreciate the support I receive from you all, and as a little thank you I'm giving away a stun gun! My blog is still young (but growing) and I'm looking forward to getting to know you in the future. Feel free to interact on my blog with comments (I love them!) Also, please visit these gals and say thank you for helping make this giveaway possible!

Zoe's Printable Coupons                                   Tianna's Coupon Cafe
ELITEMAMA                                    Sugar Mama's Sweet Bowtique
Wrap with Jolene                                        Lynchburg Coupon Mama
Mom's Freebies                                                     To Sew With Love
Our Wolves Den                                                         Freesocial2011
Bargain Hound                                                           Oh My Goodies
The Dollar Monger                            Crazy Latina is Crazy 4 Coupons
The Halton Mom                                                 The Miracle Momma
                            Haute Single Mama
In addition to blogging I am an Independent Damsel in Defense Rep. I sell a range of personal protection items including stun guns, pepper spray, personal alarms, and security on the go. As a woman and a mom it is important for me to feel safe and to know that I have options when it comes to protecting myself and my family. I really do believe in these products and the aid they can give in protecting yourself. However, I always, always encourage my customers to seek additional self defense training to make them more comfortable with carrying a weapon and knowing how to use it. You have to know how to use it for it to be effective. I have had the opportunity to take a self defense class, and I plan on seeking further instruction in the future. Remember that the best defense is staying out of a potentially dangerous situation to begin with.

The prize will one "One Your Knees" stun gun in the winner's choice of color.
The 'On Your Knees' features: 

3.5 Million Volts
LED Flashlight
Easy To Hold Design
Rechargeable (Wall Plug Included)
4-8 Milli-amps Depending On Battery Charge

Here's the important stuff you need to know: The giveaway will run from 6/17/12 @ 12:01 AM EST until 7/1/12 @ 12:01 AM EST. Giveaway open to U.S. residents 18 yrs or older only.

Stun Guns cannot be shipped to CT, HI, MA, MI, NJ, NY, RI, WI, Annapolis, MD, Baltimore, MD, Baltimore County, MD, Chicago, IL, Denison/Crawford County, IA, Philadelphia, PA or Washington DC.

If you live in one of these areas you will be given a prize of equal value. It's kind of a bummer that you can't have a stun gun in those areas, but all of our stuff is pretty awesome so you're not missing out on much! (Do I sound old when I say 'bummer'?)

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dating Thus Far

So I went on my first post-divorce date in December. I know, it's been a long time and I'm just now dishing. Sorry bout that.

Anyway, luckily I chose an amazing guy to go on my first date with. We had a great time, and continued going on dates, and decided to be exclusive about a month later. Like boyfriend and girlfriend. Squeeeee!

It was great. But then... it wasn't so great. I still have a lot of residual issues from my marriage, divorce, and baby loss. A lot of issues. Some of these issues were affecting our relationship - so we're "taking a break" for the summer.

So I'm wondering, can I ever really get past these? The trust issues and the "pessimist" philosophical bend? I'm always waiting, preparing, anticipating the next nightmare and how I'll get through that. I'm still in survival mode.

How does one get over that?

I'm hoping to work that out at therapy, but if anyone has any personal experiences with that, I would be very open to and grateful for advice!

P.S. I apologize for the hideousness of my blog. I was trying to fix it and then realized I am totally incompetent and got a real designer to do it. So it should be fixed in a couple of weeks ;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why, hello there!

Hello there old friends!

It's been awhile since you heard from me.

I did manage to make it through hell second semester of nursing school. Barely, but I hung on. It was literally the worst semester of my life. Although I got to do some really cool skills during clinicals which was way better than first semester.

Anyway, they say 3rd semester isn't as bad, so I'm hoping and praying that's true. Meanwhile, I'm taking the summer off with E (yay!) This endeavor is pretty tricky financially, but I think I'll be able to pull it off.

I've been dating a bit since school got out. More on that later.

I've decided to use this summer to freshen up - physically and especially emotionally. I've been in overdrive ever since E was born - NICU to divorce to nursing school - and I have 2.5 more months to just chill. I've been to a few therapy sessions, and I've been trying to go to yoga. I've been having a hard time due to some depression creeping back in, so we'll see if therapy can help with that.

So I'll be keeping you posted on the fun new recipes I'll be trying, the more serious therapy-after-douchebag-husband info, and what I'm studying during my final summer before I become an RN!