Thursday, April 30, 2009

My vaccuum cleaner

It's been so long since my last baby reached the milestones all parents watch for. I had forgotten how fast the first year goes and how very cute each little step really is. I think sometimes as Moms we tend to get frustrated in the beginning and wish those hard times away. Like the feedings every 2 or 3 hours that last a half hour each making it feel like you're constantly attached to this little tiny thing. And those days when they want to be held all day when all you want to do is get a load of laundry done. I tried very hard with my littlest one not to wish those days away and to enjoy every new stage, easy or hard. I was sad to have the night-time feedings end and I was sad when he moved into his own bedroom into his "big bed". And I miss the days when I was the only one who could feed him. I was extremely sad when he decided he didn't need mommy's milk anymore. My tiny little boy on strike from the only thing he knew for 9 months. That may have been the single hardest time of his young life for me. One stage I certainly didn't wish away. While I couldn't leave him for more than a few hours at a time, I enjoyed nursing immensely. We so enjoyed watching him roll around the house. He got where he wanted just by rolling, but it didn't last long. Next was a sort of commando crawl. Watching him get up on all fours was very exciting for all of us. He looked like a little gecko swaying and looking very uncoordinated as he tried to figure it out. He's got these 2 little teeth that he uses to bite everything! He loves to chew on paper and now that he's very mobile, he's discovered the dog food. I can see in his face how proud he is of himself when he masters a new skill. I love listening to him say the same thing over and over again..."dada dada dada" even though it's not "mama mama". Sometimes it even sounds like he's saying dada did it. Each new step is so precious. He's so laid back and happy. He's so inquizative, wanting to touch and explore everything he can get his hands on. He has this purple kazoo that he just loves to sing into and we love to listen. He bounces to music and is obsessed with food. Don't try to eat in front of him without sharing, that's when his little temper shows. His newest skill is pulling himself up to a standing position which is why he has a little black and blue on his cheek. It's one stage that's so hard. They learn how to pull up and can't figure out how to get back down so they just kind of fall. We have all mastered the swipe with the finger to the back of his throat to fish out random things he finds on the floor...paper, dog food, legos, lint..anything his little pinchers can pick up. I love the fat hands and rolls on his thighs. I love seeing his little head pop up above the railing of his crib after a nice long nap. I love the smile he gets on his little face when he sees his brothers or his daddy walk throught the door. I love watching him make a bee-line to a person with food. I'm so blessed and I vow to enjoy each and every stage my little vaccuum cleaner goes through, hard or easy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm glad I came around.

I guess I always had issues with forming close relationships.
I remember laying on the floor huddled up in front of my grandparents big console TV listening to my grandmother on the phone with my dad. I remember thinking that I had never seen her cry...until now. I remember my father talking about my mom in later years and swallowing the lump in my throat because I had to be strong for my father. I was seven.
I remember at the time how mean I thought my Poppop was. He was loud and impatient. Sometimes he said things that weren't so nice. I think he was obsessed with It's a wonder he lived as long as he did. He was also a big softy if you caught him on a good day. He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it and always had a boat of a car that he handed over to me whenever I wanted. I loved him. I watched in sadness as he went downhill fast after his stroke. I also watched the day the coroner came and took him away. I was twenty three.
I never came around when my family was visiting. I was always invited, obviously, I just rarely showed up and when I did, I didn't stay long. I remember being jealous listening to my sister talk about their get togethers and my sisters trips to visit them, my cousin and my aunt. I never thought about it at the time, but I think I was afraid of loving and losing and being hurt again.
I've been through a lot in my life, even more than I'm willing to write about. I've grown as a person so much over the years and it was after having my own children that I realized how very important my family was to me and how ridiculous I had been.
I let down my guard and started going to family functions. That was possibly what was missing from my life. I love them all so much more than they'll ever know...ALL of them!
My sister and I are best friends. We don't always agree on things, but it's part of what we love about each other. She's my big sister, the older, skinnier, blond version of myself. She hates when I say that. She hates that she's aging, but I think she's still young and hip. She still looks good in a bikini. LOL. Do you know what it's like to just have to look at someone and know what they're thinking? That's my big sister and me. We've been through a lot, me and my sister. But we're strong, must be the Hillman blood.
I think about how excited I used to get as a child waiting for "Jersey and Delaware" to show up.
My Uncle Sean who used to steal my nose and put it in his pocket and makes the best collard greens. He told me I took his breath away when he saw me walk down the isle at my wedding because I looked just like my mom. The reason I had to explain to people why my cousins were black. LOL. My cousin Apryl, the beautiful model and actress I was so proud of. Lover of butterflies. I used to take my blue Ziggy folder full of her magazine adds and the playbill from The Piano that she acted in as a little girl to school and show her off as if they were pictures of myself. Seanie...I miss Seanie. So handsome. He took over my place as the one who doesn't come around much. We did get to see him last summer though. I love him! And my Aunt Tracy...we've formed a special relationship in the past year or so. My fellow chocolate lover. Germophobe. LOL. When I think about what my mom must have been like, I often think maybe she was just like my Aunt Tracy. We're stubborn. Sarcastic. Funny. They're Delaware.
My three cousins from Jersey. I always loved listening to them talk with their Jersey accents. I remember traveling with my grandparents to see them and telling them I thought the trip seemed longer the older I got. I was little. I remember Mary coming to Mommom and Poppop's one time and taking me in her little pickup truck to the Apollo Plaza shopping. We had conversation about what kind of car I wanted... a Mazda Miata...what was I thinking. Lisa, the pretty blond in the Navy. She has my grandparents only other great grandchild besides mine and Nicole's. Dalton. What a nice boy. And then there's Sandy. Sandy and I were born on the same day, December 26th, 5 years apart. I didn't realize until this past Easter how much I've been missing out on not keeping touch with my cousins. Sandy and I have a lot more in common than I ever knew. My hope is that we'll all be better about keeping in touch. My Uncle Grant. If there ever was a Poppop, Jr. it is him! I feel so much differently about him as an adult than I ever did as a child. Maybe it's him, maybe it's me, but I really like being around him. He's funny. He owns 50 of the same camo shirt because they were cheap. My kinda guy! He so reminded me of my grandfather at our last gathering, I was so amazed. The food obsession we all possess must be a Merwin thing. He was waiting for the women of our family, and Uncle Sean, to get dinner ready and he jokingly made a comment about it taking so long and then the phrase "by the Jesus" came out of his mouth and I was taken back 15 years. Aunt Judy. I don't really remember much of her, but I do remember that she took my sister and I for our first Shirley Temple.
My Aunt Charlotte. Baker of pies and maker of jelly. I remember going to the NYS Fair with her and sleeping on a lawn chair in the big barns next to the goats. What a blast we had. We got to see Whitney Houston in concert that year. Even working in the barns she always had the cutest heels on. And the legs on that woman...woo! LOL. And who could forget about my Uncle John. Uncle Hiney. Always jokingly calls me the good kid. And wet head. So funny.
And my Mommom. The glue. The most amazing woman I've ever known. I have fond memories of peanut butter fudge and fried hamburgers out of her cast iron skillets. I remember pretzels bitten into the shape of her name. I remember cross word puzzles and ham and cheese sandwiches. Candy hidden in random drawers. The most amazing Christmas village you'll ever see. Loving. Strong. Fiesty. She's a Jesus loving woman of God and we are so blessed as a family to have her. She's never had a drivers license and never been drunk! A rare breed, my mom's mom. Our Mommom.
We're all scattered across the North East. Always wished we lived closer. We're all obsessed with food, even my skinny sister. We're all sarcastic and stubborn. We're a talented group of women and men, if I do say so. We've loved and lossed. We remain strong and positive. Must be the Hillman/ Merwin blood.
I'm glad I came around.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just the numbers people.

So, I can't tell you how often I'm bragging about how much money I save at the grocery store and then have to explain to amazed people just how it's done. Don't get me wrong, I love sharing and helping others save as well, I guess I just get sick of hearing myself tell the same story..."I buy my coupons on Ebay..." so on and so forth. I think I'll draw up a flyer complete with examples of how much I actually do save. Each time someone asks me, I can just hand them a flyer. I should be the mother who actually set up a website and is making money telling people how to do it...too little, too late.

I often get blank stares and the occasional giggle as I'm walking through ShopRite with my shopping buggy overflowing with 60 PowerAde's, 20 boxes of cereal and so on. And forget about how long it usually takes me to check out. If I'm super lucky, I'll be getting lots of items for free and that takes a manager to override the computer! That's always fun.

This has become a serious addiction. I so look forward to Friday's so I can shop for my coupons for the following week and if I'm not home at noon when the flyer posts, I start itching. LOL, not really.

So, for those of you who may be interested in getting groceries for very little money, here goes.

Ebay is your friend! Yes, it's illegal to sell coupons, but coupons aren't being sold on Ebay, envelopes are. As an added bonus, you are sent the coupons just for buying an envelope...clever huh? Always a way around things.

So you need to have Ebay opened up in one tab and ShopRite in another. You'll be clicking on the "view next weeks circular" button after you've selected your ShopRite. You really want to get all of the coupons you plan on using the following week by Sunday, that way you'll receive them before the sale ends. You'll be checking sales at SR and then going to Ebay and searching for individual items you may be interested in stocking up on. For example, one week Birds Eye boxed veggies were on sale 5 for $5.00. I went to Ebay, searched for Birds Eye coupons and purchased $1.00 off each, making them free (aside from the small cost of the coupons, of course). Now heres the thing...SR doubles coupons up to .99 cents and only up to 4 of the same one per order. This is where the whole timing issue comes into play. You'll need to split your checkout into several orders to make the most of it. This past week Colgate toothbrushes were on sale for .99 cents. I purchased .75 cent off coupons, doubled made them free AND I checked these out 3 at a time because for every 3 the computer spit out a copon for $3 off your next order! My 60+ toothbrushes were free and I got $60+ off my next shopping order. It's just a game folks...easy to play with a big payout!

So I thought it funny, the amount of some items in my house at the moment. Here are the numbers people.

Keep in mind that there are 5 of us and one doesn't use toothbrushes yet. If we (the 4 of us) changed toothbrushes twice a year..because who really changes every 3 months?, we have enough toothbrushes to last us 5 years, yes I said 5 years! And I gave some away, so I could have gotten another few years out of my free toothbrushes.

I have 60+ PowerAde's, 44 rolls of Marcal toilet paper and coupons for about 40 more for free, 25 pounds of butter, 7 1/2 gallons of Turkey Hill ice cream, 10 pounds of mozzarella cheese, 51 boxes of Birds Eye veggies, 6 pounds of bacon, 12 bottles of bodywash, 28 tubes of toothpaste, 60 toothbrushes, 2 dozen bottles of VitaminWater, 3 dozen bottles of SoBe lifewater and 46 boxes of assorted Kelloggs cereals...few take a breath. Crazy? Probably, but it didn't cost much.