Monday, December 16, 2013

Ebates - Pays YOU for shopping online!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

I have a Capital One credit card that I used to use to buy anything and everything.  We get bonus points per dollar on all our purchases.  And on top of that, they had this thing called Perk Central where if you bought online through the links, you could earn even more bonus points depending on the store.  For instance, I got an extra bonus point per dollar when shopping at or 5 bonus points per dollar when I bought tickets at an AMC theatre.
However, a few months ago they took away Perk Central in favor of the new “Capital One Deals” program.  There has been a grand total of TWO deals over the past 1.5 years they’ve been doing this that I have actually used.  The problems that I have with this Deals program over Perk Central is that 1) They are usually stores that I never shop at, and 2) Even if it is a store I shop at, I have to go and spend that much money THAT week.  The deals are only good for one week.  So basically this program is telling me when I can spend money.  So we do not end up using this program and it has made me less loyal to Capital One.  And what frustrated me most about it was that they never notified us that they were removing the Perk Central.  I had to call them after several times of trying to find the new location when the website was updated.
So since then I’ve been trying to find more ways to save money because we are frugal and hey, why not try to save some money while spending it, right?  I saw a commercial for over the weekend, and vaguely remembered when one of my husband’s colleagues told him about it years ago.  At the time, we had Perk Central, so it made sense to stick with that.  But  since we now don’t have Perk Central, I decided to check it out this weekend.
After looking it over this weekend, I definitely signed up!  At most places, all you have to do is just shop online after starting on their website.  It will open a ticket for you, and as long as you place an order, you’ll get the designated cash back from each store.  And the best part?  Amazon is one of the retailers!!  This is even better than Perk Central!  I made my first purchase yesterday.  I’m not sure how long it usually takes for the credit to show up in my account, but then they are supposed to pay you out quarterly.  Pretty awesome.  And here’s another cool part:  If you refer friends, you get even more money!  So friends, if you haven’t already, please go sign up and finish your Christmas shopping by using ebates!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Miscarriage Thanksgiving Update

I love holidays where we get together with family.  They’re such good support even when you don’t really know you need support.  Thanksgiving was not a day where I was expecting to need support, but it turned out I needed it a lot more than I thought I would.

I had woken up the day before Thanksgiving thinking to myself how strong I had been lately.  I hadn’t cried over our baby in quite a while.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t think about him, but that I had almost healed from the experience and was looking toward the future.  But everything came crashing down on me on Thanksgiving.

Maybe it’s because I was looking forward to the future of trying again.  Maybe it was seeing everyone being thankful for their kids.  Maybe it was seeing my pregnant sister-in-law.  Maybe it was just spending Thanksgiving without our baby.  But I ended up having a bit of a melt-down.  I felt the tears coming, so in order to not embarrass myself in front of our entire family, my husband and I took a walk.  I had to let it all out.  We took about 10 minutes for me to gather myself and put everything back in a box.  But I think that’s all I did.  Just put it in a box so I could get through the day with our family.

I had several aunts come up to me later that day.  We haven’t seen the family since the miscarriage, so we haven’t really talked to anyone.  It was really nice to hear that they were thinking about us and praying for us.  And they said some really nice things about our future and how hard this is.  It really meant a lot.  It had been so long since it happened that not many people talk to us about it anymore.  And I know life has to move on, but it’s going to take me a lot longer to move on than the rest of the world.  So it was really helpful to have such loving people wrap their arms around me as I teared up again.  I didn’t feel as silly holding back tears anymore.  But I had already put most of my feelings back in that little box a few hours earlier.

It didn’t really hit me again until Saturday and Sunday.  I had things to keep me busy throughout the weekend like shopping and putting up all my Christmas decorations.  I did some pinteresting on Saturday and found some really sweet quotes.  One that most comes to mind is about pennies from Heaven.  It states

“I found a penny today / just laying on the ground / But it’s not just a penny / this little coin I’ve found / “Found” pennies come from Heaven / that’s what my Grandpa told me / He said angels toss them down / oh how I loved that story / He said when an angel misses you / they toss a penny down / Sometimes just to cheer you up / Make a smile out of your frown / So don’t pass by that penny / when you’re feeling blue / It may be a penny from Heaven / that an angel tossed to you”

Remember this one for later. 

Sunday is where it really hit me though.  I woke up in kind of a funk, and was in a bad mood almost all day.  I was either angry or depressed.   While I was in Walmart, I was thinking about our baby who should have been there for Thanksgiving with me.  We should have been talking about the next 3 months and what it holds.  But we don’t get to. And so many women terminate their pregnancies willingly or hurt the babies they are blessed with.  But as I was walking out of Walmart in my funk, I saw a penny on the ground.  And I instantly remembered the poem I saw on pinterest, and it made me think that our baby sent that penny to me to make me smile and know that he is okay.

I obviously picked up the penny and squeezed it tight and thanked Baby Ray for sending that penny to me.  It pulled me out of my funk.  But then I was just sad the rest of the day.  Missing our baby.  Wishing we had gotten more time with him.  And at the same time, I realized that I think some of it is from fear.  Of us thinking about trying again.  As exciting as it is to think about being pregnant again, I’m really scared of the same heartache all over again.  I don’t want the next baby to feel any less loved because of my fear, but I’m scared.  I’m scared of walking in to that doctor’s office again. I’m scared that we’ll lose the next baby too.  I’m scared that when we do get pregnant again, that everyone, including me, will stop thinking about Baby Ray #1.

So physically I’m doing great.  My period came back 4.5 weeks after the surgery.  Everything seems fine.  My body finally went all back to normal.  But emotionally I had a relapse this weekend.  Actually, now that I’ve typed it out, I don’t think it’s as much a relapse as just new fears.  I had overcome the other fears and guilt.  But now that we are in another chapter of our lives, new fears seem to have come to light.  About forgetting our baby again (but for a different reason) and the fear of this happening again.  With a little bit of loss remembrance sadness thrown in for good measure just to bring on the tears.

I’ve been told by those who have had miscarriages that you’ll have good days and bad.  That sometimes you’ll find yourself crying for no reason. The littlest thing can bring on a bad day.  I think a lot of things surrounding Thanksgiving brought on my bad day, but it ended up being a bad weekend.  But writing this blog has actually helped me figure out some of my feelings.  This blog has been very therapeutic to me – it was my way of initially dealing with my grief as well.  I’m not sure how many people actually read this blog, but to those who do, I’m grateful.  And I hope my story touches just one other person who is feeling the same way.

I believe that our baby watches out for us though.  I believe he wants happiness for us and that he is in good hands in Heaven.  I believe that we will meet him when we get to Heaven ourselves. In the meantime, he will send us pennies when we’re sad, to remind us that he’s okay and that we’ll be okay.  And that gives me hope.  Now I just need to focus on that hope to overcome my new fears.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: Allegiant

by  Veronica Roth
Date Read: 11/23/2013
Rating: ★

Okay.  It’s been about a week since I finished off this book and I think I can coherently write a review for this.  I think this leans toward 2.5 stars.  I will start off by saying I am disappointed by yet another YA series conclusion this year.  Both series were my two favorite series ever, and both ended in tragic disappointment and anger (the other being Clockwork Princess).
First I will start off with the two POVs (Tris and Four’s).  While I liked the change, I think it should have been done that way from the beginning [spoiler: especially with Tri dying in the end.  If you didn’t want everyone to expect that was what was going to happen (after all, how do you conclude a story when the character dies), it should have been done since book 1 ].  But also, the two voices were so similar.  It was hard for me to determine who was talking.  The only identification you had was on each new chapter page.  If you forgot mid-chapter, you were out of luck.  Their voices needed to be much more different.  I felt like I lost a lot of the book because I constantly had to remember who was talking.  This was a total fail on the author’s part of making sure her characters were different.  And their personalities had been very different, but I think as soon as she started writing both, she ended up blending them.

The change in setting was frustrating for me too.  This book was supposed to be a dystopian society, but as soon as they leave at the beginning of this book, everything we know is thrown away.  Not to say they are not still in a dystopian society, but it is not what we think.  This was something that was very hard for me to get over.  Now, I can accept the whole scientific background to this whole thing seeing as I majored in Biochemistry and genetics is very interesting to me, but it completely changed the type of story this was to me.  It took me a good 300 – 400 pages to get comfortable with the change. I felt like there should have been more foreshadowing about this twist. I  felt like the beginning of the series did not lead us to the end of the series. 

Now, I was super excited that we finally got a clear definition of what “Divergent” is.  With the movie coming out, I was trying to figure out how to define “Divergent” to my husband, knowing that he would ask at some point.  And before reading this book, I couldn’t figure out a good definition.  So it made me start questioning how well the first books were written if I couldn’t even define the title of the first book!  So it’s nice to finally know what it truly means. And I think it was a good way to do it. I just feel like the lead up to the realization could have been done much better, and much smoother.

There were some fights between Tris and Four in this book that didn’t seem real.  It just seemed like something thrown in to create tension – not done nearly as well as the first two books.  Tris was never this jealous, know-it-all like she is in this book. I actually got to the point where I didn’t really care about her [spoiler: And that is probably why her death didn’t affect me as much as it was supposed to ].  She suffered from what my husband and I call, “Bella Syndrome”.  We grew to not enjoy the main character because of who they become over the length of the series.  Tris’s behavior was very out of character for her and it frustrated me.  And her constant know-it-all attitude really made me angry.

I did like some of the other character relationships that were built in this book though.  And there was a twist with a character coming back from the dead.  We also got some background information on Tris’s mom, which was actually very interesting.  That was probably the most interesting thing to me in this book – which when you think about it, is pretty sad.

The big fight at the very end was pretty much non-existent.  I actually didn’t like how it was ended. I felt like she got herself in a spot where she couldn’t get her characters out of it any other way. [Spoiler: I hate that what they did to the institute was exactly what the institute was going to do to their loved ones.  What makes that any better?  The institute people have people who loved them too and they will not remember each other.  It’s just frustrating that Roth couldn’t have come up with a better way for them to win the fight.  If you’re going to have a good guy and a bad guy, the good guy can’t just counter the bad guy with the same thing he was doing.  It was a total cop-out.  She took her story to a place that she couldn’t get out of, so this was the only way. ]

Okay, so now let’s talk about that ending.  I’m going to be putting most of this in a spoiler, though honestly, if you’ve paid attention to how this book was created and reviewed, you can probably determine the ending anyway.  [Spoiler: I am so frustrated that she killed Tris.  I did expect it about half way through the book, but I was hoping she would do it in an epic way that at least had a big impact on the world.  But she didn’t.  I don’t feel like Tris’s death did anything for making the world a better place.  All it did was allow this “tragic” ending.  Okay, she gave up her life for Caleb’s, which is cool because he had done so many awful things to her.  But really, her death didn’t do much.  If perhaps her death helped them stop the institute from doing what they were going to do some other epic way, okay that would have been better. Or the death should have been some type of Christ archetype (I give credit to this to my husband).  In Harry Potter, Harry actually goes out and dies in the forest, but he comes back to life.  That death and rebirth has a big impact.  But Tris just dies, and for nothing.  I wish this had been done better.  And I hate getting attached to a main character and then they die.  If this is what Roth thinks is a good ending, then I do not plan to read more series from her in the future. ]

So overall I am very disappointed with this book.  There was a lot of wrap up at the end, but it wasn’t really about what the world became.  It was more about the characters (Tobias) dealing with the events of what happened.  I wish we had gotten more world wrap up.  Their immediate world changed, but they didn’t really change anything else that happened in the rest of the world.  Other experiments are still out there and don’t know what they are.  This series could have been an epic win, but in the end, all it did was epically fail.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Movie Review: Ender's Game

We saw two movies this weekend. We saw Thor: The Dark World and Ender’s Game.

I feel I need to preface this review by saying that I have not read the Ender’s Game book before seeing this movie.  I’m not sure if not having read the book will have any impact over my liking of the movie.

First off, I have to say that I absolutely love Harrison Ford.  So any movie he’s in, I’m generally going to like.  I thought he did a great job in this movie. He actually had a harsh side to him and when he’d get angry, I felt that he was really angry.  I think he did a great job.  Now, again, I don’t know what the actual character in the book is like, so I can’t tell you if he did a good job as him, but he did a great job from the outside.

This is not an action filled movie.  This movie is more about the psychology of the kids.  So this was actually a pretty slow movie. I did find myself dosing off a few times just because of the lack of action and my sleep deprivation.  But it really made you use your brain and it was very interesting to see how the kids all related to each other and how the adults tried to manipulate them.

There were a couple kids I recognized from when they were younger!  To see kids from Disney channel or the girl from Definitely Maybe was a lot of fun.  I think they all did a pretty decent job acting.

We were told that the first book had no actual fighting, so I’m not sure whether this movie actually covered only book one or if it expanded into the second book or not.  But the twist at the end was great. I probably should have seen it coming, but I didn’t figure it out before it happened – which was awesome.  I can’t wait for a second movie to figure out the repercussions of what happened.  I might not be able to wait for a second movie, and I’ll just have to go read the books.

I think people who like sci-fi will enjoy this movie.  And I hope that people who read the book like the movie also.  It thought this movie was going to be more crowded, but there were only a few other people in the theater with us.  I guess they’re competing against Thor now, and then Catching Fire comes out next week – so good luck against that one.  I was very happy with this movie though, and it is probably one that we’ll buy when it comes out on blu-ray.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Movie Review: Thor: The Dark World

We saw two movies this weekend.  We saw Thor: The Dark World and Ender's Game.

What can I say about Thor?  It was a great movie!  It was so entertaining.  From the action, to the visual effects, to the humor, I was engaged the entire time.  This movie is definitely worth watching.

We had gotten to the theater about an hour early, and the previous movie was still playing. So we chatted with another couple who got there early but they said they had already seen it.  I’m not one who usually pays to see movies twice in the theater.  I think Harry Potter and Les Miserables are the only ones I’ve done it or thought of doing it for.  But after walking out of this movie, I can see why they did it.  It was so much fun!

Chris Hemsworth is so great in this movie.  He has that sexy strong look, but he has this cute charm about him.  And his accent is to die for.  Thor has to deal with some pretty serious stuff in this movie, and I actually enjoyed watching him deal with it and figure things out.  He then has to team up with Loki in order to save the day.

Let’s talk about Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  I absolutely love that guy!  He was the most hilarious one in the movie!  There are two scenes that come to mind immediately.  I don’t want to spoil them for those who haven’t seen the movie, but the shape shifting scene and the scene where they’re getting ready to leave Asgard are my favorite.  But Loki is such a hard character to figure out, and I think that’s why I like him so much. You’re never quite sure what side he’s on.  He always seems to be on his own side, trying to help himself, which means he’ll help whoever can help him.

Even though most of the movie takes place in “space”, the mortals on Earth are actually still a pretty big part of the movie.  Darcy is beyond funny, and they bring in another intern who she is able to play off of and I really liked the dynamic.  I found myself laughing a lot.  And of course they bring back Eric who basically went crazy after the Avengers.  I feel like this movie was almost as much a comedy as it was an action movie.

YOU NEED TO STAY THROUGH THE CREDITS!  There are 2 scenes at the end of the movie.  The first is after the main credits.  But there is another at the very end of the credits.  Stay for both!

The movie was actually pretty short.  It had only been 2 hours since the movie start time, but we had about 20 minutes of previews as well.  So the movie was roughly only 1 hour and 45 minutes.  I actually wanted more, but the pacing of the movie was great, so it’s probably good that it was as short as it is.  I find myself criticizing movies that are long and had boring parts.  Thor definitely did not have any boring parts.

If you’re a Thor fan, or a superhero fan, or even a comedy fan, you should definitely go see this.  I highly recommend it.  Thor fans will not be disappointed.

Book Review: House of Night: Legacy

House of Night: Legacy
by  (Goodreads Author), , (Editor), (Illustrator), (Illustrator)
Date Read:  8/7/2013
Rating: ★

This probably leans more toward 3.5 stars.

So I have not read a single House of Night book.  So maybe it was weird starting a graphic novel off without knowing what the series is about.  But this book did a pretty good job of flashbacks and recaps that even though I didn’t know anything, I still knew what was going on.  So I was really happy with that.

I also really liked the Vampyre world that was set up in this story.  Of course, I really only got a glimpse of it in this short graphic novel, but it actually made me want to start reading this book series.  So that’s saying something.  I had tried to stay away from this series because there are so many books, but maybe I’ll pick up the first and see what it’s like.

Being a big Avatar the Last Airbender fan, I enjoy when magic revolves around the elements.  Of course, their use of the elements is different than in Avatar, but I still liked the fact that each vampyre is gifted with a different element…except in Zoey’s case, where she is gifted with them all.  (I’m still a little fuzzy on why that is…) I like that the vampyres are more than just blood sucking evildoers.  That actually the vampyres weren’t meant to be killer beasts.  And I enjoyed how the sun affected them.  It wasn’t the usual burn the skin and die thing.  It made them sick, like the flu.  Now, she was still wearing jeans and a long sleeved hoodie, so maybe I don’t know all the details on how the sun affects them, but I liked it.  I thought it was different and unique…and much better than just being sparkly!

I also really liked the history and myths that were mixed in with the story.  How the authors translated their story with myths and history.  The story of Boudicca’s Daughters was sooo disturbing!  I hated reading it.  But I actually really liked how it ended and explained how the Dark Daughters were created.  I think Circe and Cleopatra’s stories were my favorite.  I thought they were mixed with the myth really well, and of course those are stories I was already familiar with.

Even though I thought the book did a decent job with giving me all the details I needed to know to understand, I did feel like I was missing things.  But it wasn’t anything major, I just wasn’t completely clear on everything that was happening.  There was a lot going on in this book.  She was dealing with becoming the leader of the Dark Daughters, learning lessons, dealing with Aphrodite, and dealing with an ex-boyfriend.  Kind of felt like a little too much going on, and so I felt like some details might have been left out.

I actually really like the illustrations.  There were a lot of sharp lines, but I think that worked well with the characters of the story being vampyres.  And I thought the illustrator did a really good job with handling all the flashbacks.  I was always able to tell what was a flashback and what was really happening now.

The book has a bit of sex and intimacy.  So if you don’t want your younger daughter reading this, fare warning.  And there is a rape scene which is very disturbing.  But vampyres have always had sex appeal.  So I don’t think this graphic novel was too over the top.  I think they handled the sex and rape scenes in the illustrations pretty well.  Nothing was too graphic.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good graphic novel.  And it’s made me want to pick up the first House of Night book.  So I think it did its job. I suggest that if you’re thinking about picking up the House of Night books, give this a quick read to see if you enjoy the world and characters.  That way you don’t waste your time on an entire novel if it’s not your cup of tea.

Book Review: The House of Hades

The House of Hades
by  Rick Riordan
Date Read: 11/18/2013
Rating: ★

Beware, there are quite a few spoilers in this review.  So please look for the red spoiler tags if you don't want anything spoiled.

I always love Percy Jackson books. I love Greek mythology. I love the characters in these books. Annabeth and Percy are by far my favorite, but I actually grew to love some of the characters in this book more. Leo is probably my next favorite. But I also found myself liking Frank more in this book and even Jason. It’s just so hard to attach to new characters when there are so many different points of view. It’s always hard for me to tell Hazel and Piper apart. They aren’t different enough for me to separate them in my brain.

Ok, this was a long book. Of course a lot happened, but I almost feel like it could have happened quicker if we didn’t have all these different POVs. There was at least 1 chapter from all 7 characters POVS. Really?! Nothing really repeated itself except when the characters were separated. Then we had to know what was happening to each during that time – so I guess you can say that time was repeated. But there was a lot of character development in this book which was needed!!

I thought the parts in Tartarus with Annabeth and Percy were my favorite. The descriptions were pretty vivid and it was interesting watching them try to survive in Tartarus while there are thousands of monsters trying to make it back into the mortal world. But I liked that they stuck together and tackled everything as a team – not wanting to split up again. [SPOILER:  Bob was my favorite! I loved him. He actually reminded me of Tyson a little in how he spoke and his personality. He was a really sympathetic character and I loved that he still chose to be good even when he got his memory back! I hope he didn’t end up dying in Tartarus! I’m hoping that Riordan was focusing so much on their “sacrifice” that that means it is supposed to be a shock when he’s not dead! But I’m also wondering what is going to happen because there were some points where Percy seemed to go overboard toward the dark side and Annabeth was scared of him – like with the poison water. Is this going to come into play in the last book? If it doesn’t come in to play, it seems worthless to me. ]

Leo’s adventure was another one of my favorite parts. I love how he builds things and works things out and always makes the best of a bad situation. He’s also almost as funny as Percy. But while Percy is more smart-alecky funny, Leo is a jokster. [SPOILER:   I am so happy that he fell in love with Calypso! I always felt bad for her in the first series when she met Percy – but you couldn’t feel bad because Percy is supposed to be with Annabeth. And I always felt bad for Leo not getting Hazel. But this relationship with Calypso I really like. And it didn’t start with an attraction. Calypso didn’t like him at all. She just fell in love with him after getting to know him. I was so bummed when the raft appeared! But it also made me go “awwwe!” So I hope she shows back up in the final book. I’m rooting for Leo getting the girl!! ]

Frank changed a lot in this book. [SPOILER: emotionally and physically! ]   Before this book I could really care less about Frank. He was kind of inconsequential to me. Sure it was convenient he could change into animals, but there was really nothing else cool about him. His life tied to the log of firewood was interesting, but it didn’t really play a factor so you kind of just forgot about it. But in this book he steps up and really comes into his own. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for Frank.

Jason also makes a life changing decision in this book. This along with his conversation with Nico, are why I actually now like Jason. Until this book, I didn’t really care about him either. But I liked seeing him make some decisions in this book and step up. I think this was really needed; otherwise I wasn’t going to care if Jason lived or died in the final book.

And of course Nico – he has a huge development added to him. I won’t say I didn’t see it coming. It’s actually pretty obvious, but I think it was supposed to be more of a shock than it was. But the fact that this was finally told to the audience was a huge step, and it will make for an interesting end. It gives you a little bit of doubt in how you thought everything would turn out. Nico is always an interesting to character to me, so I’m interested to see what happens.

The pacing in the book was pretty good, despite the chapters that happened simultaneously. Once I got some time to sit down and spend some time reading, I blew through the book. And of course, the endings are always exciting, and I never think he can wrap everything up in the few short pages left, but he always does.

Ok, so let me talk about my most exciting moment: [SPIOLER:  I LOVED when Jason had the vision of Rachel and Grover!!! I’ve been so upset that Grover hasn’t been in this series at all! I think Leo is kind of taking his place, but you can’t replace Grover! So that short chapter that had the two of them talking to Reyna was my absolute favorite. And I know they’re heading back towards Athens, but I’m hoping Grover and Rachel show up again. ]

At least in this one there is no crazy cliffhanger! I actually liked the note from Riordan at the beginning of the book: “To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.” We are given a sort of calm before the storm at the end of this book. I’m not even sure what to expect to happen in the final book, except a fight against Gaea. But you can’t have a 500 page fight. So it’ll be interesting. I expect they’ll run into some Giants along their way. Either way, I can’t wait for the final installment which we now know is titled Blood of Olympus.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Black Friday Hours Out of Control!!

I’ve been a Black Friday shopper since I was old enough to get up and shop with my mom.  It’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember.  My mom and I would get up at about 3am to be in line a few minutes later (because we lived down the street from a mall) for the stores that opened at 4am.  We would stand in line at JC Penny first because they always gave out snow globes.  I have about 10 years’ worth of snow globes collected.  We would usually be finished shopping around 8am, and we would meet my dad and brother somewhere for breakfast.

Now that I live on my own and own my own house, I don’t have that much money.  We’re not broke by any means, but we also can’t spend $100 on everyone’s Christmas present.  I love Black Friday because I’m able to get my family something nice for Christmas without breaking the bank like I would otherwise.

When I got married, I got my husband to start black Friday shopping with me.  He’s all about getting good deals too.  So our tradition was to go shopping, drop all our stuff off at home, meet my parents for breakfast, and then come home and start decorating for Christmas.  I loved that tradition.  And we got enough sleep before going to the stores, that we didn’t feel crappy or get cranky.

The last several years the stores have opened earlier.  I was able to handle midnight.  I was still able to get a little bit of sleep before having to go out shopping.  And let’s be honest, once you get home at 7 or 8am, the sun is up, and it’s hard to go back to sleep.  For me it is anyway.  Last year the stores opened all over the place.  Some opened at 10pm, some opened at midnight, some at 2pm.  And then some not till 6am.  It was miserable.  We went out for the 10pm, then drove and waited in line for the midnight.  I think we may have hit one that opened at 2am, but then we tried to go back home and sleep for a couple hours before the 6am.  We were both tired, exhausted, and cranky.  We actually started feeling sick because we hadn’t gotten any sleep since the night before.  The 2 hour nap didn’t help much.  We were miserable when we went to lunch and cranky all day while we were putting up our Christmas decorations.

Last year, JC Penny didn’t even do their snow globes!!  They did these stupid little pins with codes on the back.  I think I got a couple $5 off $15 coupons with about 33% of the pins I received.  But I would have rather have my snow globe to keep my tradition live.  I ended up just pinning all those mini pins to the white fluff on the top of our stockings.  But I set all my snow globes out every year, and didn’t get to add one to my collection last year.  I hope they bring it back this year.  Overall, last year’s Black Friday was the worst I’ve ever had.  It’s miserable.

But this week I saw the hours for Best Buy’s Black Friday 2013.  They are opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day.  I can’t believe that!  I can’t even finish dinner with my family before having to be in line to get doorbusters!  And then all those store clerks have to be there too…and having a brother and husband who worked retail, the people who open actually have to be there several hours before the store opens.  So instead of eating dinner with their families, they will be setting a store up.  What kind of holiday is that?  And it’s not fair to those people who still want to have a Thanksgiving, but need the doorbuster deals to be able to give their families a nice Christmas.

I refuse to give up my Thanksgiving.  Christmas already overtakes even Halloween in stores now.  I never minded that stores would put out Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving, because honestly, there is really no “Thanksgiving season”.  Thanksgiving is mainly about the day.  So as long as Black Friday stayed on Friday, I was okay with retailers putting out Christmas stuff early.  Last year there were a lot of people ranting about the stores opening at 10pm.  But again, I was okay with that (despite the fact that I didn’t get any sleep before shopping), because I was done with my Thanksgiving dinner a few hours before.  But as soon as I saw they were opening at dinner time this year it crossed a line for me.  Retail stores are trying to take over Thanksgiving.  It’s not going to be Black Friday anymore.  It will be Black Thursday.  I don’t want to lose Thanksgiving all together.  We as the people of the country need to take a stand and say NO to retailers continuing to open earlier and earlier.  We need to stand up for Thanksgiving or the holiday is going to be lost.  Or we people who value Thanksgiving will lose out on all the good deals and only the people who don’t value Thanksgiving will be out shopping.  I know we won’t be leaving dinner early this year.  Thank goodness for Best Buy’s early access to deals for premier members – this way we’ll still be able to get most of the deals we want.  I hope more people take a stand and don’t go to the stores at 6pm when they open.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Miscarriage Update

I felt like that since it's been 7 weeks since our miscarriage, that I should write an update about how we're doing.  I'm not sure if anyone cares, but perhaps out there, there is some other women trying to figure out if how's she's feeling right now is normal.

Overall, we are doing much better emotionally. Of course we still miss our baby every day, and there's not a day that goes by that we don't think of our baby boy.  But at least we don't break down and cry everytime we think about him now.

I would say it took me about 2 weeks to be able to talk about it or think about it without crying.  A big stepping stone for me was making it through the follow-up appointment after surgery at the doctor's office.  That was really hard, and once I was through it, I felt a literal weight come off my shoulders.  The next weight was when we got the genetic testing results back.  It was so hard to learn that we still have no idea what caused the miscarriage...but at the same time it was a relief to know it wasn't something genetic that we will experience with future pregnancies.  But it was really hard when they told me it was a boy.  I had to hang up and go to the bathroom to cry about it.  I also finally got the final ultrasound picture in the mail (which we had asked for so we had a keepsake of our baby looking like a baby).  But in the ultrasound, I noticed something.  It said that I was at 13w5days. But the baby only measured at 11w3days.  So it made me realize it wasn't cause by any of the things that I beat myself up over. I hadn't been to the gym at all since 6 weeks, so if something happened around 11 weeks, it wasn't caused by that.  I stayed on the progesterone until 13 weeks. And I don't think bed rest would have helped at 13 weeks if baby stopped growing at 11 weeks.  Another weight lifted off.  I started feeling a lot lighter.  I still missed my baby so much, but I didn't have a reason to blame myself anymore.

Afterwards, most of the days got better.  There would still be times when someone would say something, or all the flowers I received after surgery died, that made me sad and cry again.  But there were more good days than bad.

Close to a month later was Miscarriage Remembrance day (October 15).  We lit a candle for our baby boy.  It was both therapuedic and heartbreaking.  When we had to blow the candle out at the end of the night, we both broke down and cried.  It was too close to reality.  We had this light shining on us for a short time, and then the candle blew out and he was gone.  But my parents and his parents also lit a candle for our baby, and that meant the world to us.

A few days later (on October 18), we found ourselves eating at the same restaurant we ate it on September 18 (the day we lost our baby).  Neither of us realized it was the 1 month anniversary until we looked at the moon and noticed it was full.  The night we lost our baby, we were driving home from dinner and I cursed the moon for what happened to us.  I needed to blame something, so the full moon seemed good at the time - I mean, it brings on warewolves!  That's pretty bad!  Haha, but anyway, that's what made us notice what day it was, and that we were sitting at the same restaurant in roughly the same place.  That turned in to a bad day.

We then had some friends come in to town and stay with us.  She has the two most adorable little girls you'll ever meet.  But she is also pregnant.  She is due in early December.  I wasn't sure how I was going to react to this, but there was no way I was going to make her stay in a hotel.  I had so much fun while they were here.  Those little girls did so much for me.  I realized that I loved being around them and I was so sad when they left.  And as far as her being wasn't that bad!  The only time where I found myself having to take a step back and a deep breath was when she was talking about feeling the baby kick. Since I still have no idea what that feels like, it was really hard for me.  But otherwise, I did really well.

At the end of October, a friend of mine had her third baby.  I was expecting to be okay with it and be really happy for her since I handled my pregnant friend so well.  But when I saw a picture of this friend with her newborn, I fell apart.  That was my worst day since Miscarriage Remembrance day.  I'm not really sure why the newborn affected me so much more than a pregnant belly, but it did.

We just recently got back from our trip to Florida as well.  This trip was originally scheduled for March 2015 (for baby's 1st birthday).  But our timeshare sample will end before we have another due date, and we needed some time away, so we bumped it up.  I bought us Halloween shirts to wear to Disneyworld, and on the left sleeve, I embroidered 9/18/13 to dedicate the trip to our baby boy.  This trip will always be in honor of him.  But it was really nice to get away and have some fun. And planning this trip really helped me not focus on my grief as much, and I think it helped prevent me from spiraling into a despair.  We have a lot of great pictures, and are looking forward to when we can bring our baby there (though we realized just how much money we will have to save up with all the souvenirs there are!)

So overall, we're doing really well.  Of course there are still things that make us sad and miss our baby. And of course we still think of our baby.  But we've learned that just because we've moved on and healed, doens't mean that there isn't still a spot for this baby in our hearts.  And when our next baby comes, we will love it with every ounce of our being.  This baby has taught us how precious life is and to never take a day for granted, because Tomorrow is Never Promised.
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