Thursday, March 31, 2011

It feels so darn good!

It's amazing how good I feel after working out.

Here's a typical day for me:


  • Wake up. Do 30 minutes Wii Fit Plus Yoga
  • Eat an apple (usually 1/2 because I cut it up and share it with my girls)
  • Do 30 minutes Wii Fit Plus Basic Step and Rhythm Boxing, sometimes a little Kung Fu Rhythm
I do the Yoga every morning. Everything else is switched up a bit. I do Biggest Loser on the Wii 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I do Strength Training with Wii Fit Plus every 3 days.

I am able to think more clearly. I sit up a little straighter/taller. I feel skinny. I know I'm not quite there yet, but I can feel that I'm skinnier. My 7 year old daughter even told me this morning, "Mom, you're skinny!" Made me smile.

I have been an example to my children.  We all take turns on the Wii. It's awesome!

So to update, I've been on Phentermine about 7 weeks. (plus working out and cutting calories)
My scale says I've lost about 9 pounds. More importantly, I'm fitting into new clothes I bought last year that I had outgrown. Yeah I had started losing weight last year, got frustrated and felt stuck. So now I guess I'm back to where I was then, only I think a little bit better.  It's empowering and it feels so darn good! 

I found my measuring tape, so I took measurements today. Boy do I wish I had found it 7 weeks ago. Oh well. I will try to update at least once or twice a month.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pay in cash- keep the change!

I always thought I was a good little budgeter.  When my husband joined the Navy I became in charge of finances and bills and such. Smart move for hubby!   :)

However, if only I knew then what I know now.  (I must warn you, I get a little side-tracked, but it all leads to my point if you just stay with me, but if you're pressed for time, skip down to the 2nd to last paragraph)

If it were left to hubby, he would buy everything he *wanted* and then somehow scramble to try and pay the bills. I was a good young wife and paid the bills first and then with whatever was leftover we'd do pretty much what we wanted with it. To me, that was budgeting.

It wasn't too bad of a way to live early on. We had one small car that my dad had bought me before we got married. We had an apartment, which the Navy pretty much gave us the money to pay for. We had awesome insurance, very little co-pays and didn't have many bills. We ordered pizza every weekend. We also only had one child at the time.

Shortly after we had two children. Not much else changed for a few years. We were still able to pay our bills and play with what was leftover. Every now and then we'd put some in savings.

About 3 years into being a military family we decided to take advantage of the awesome opportunities presented to us. (VA home loan) John was getting ready to go on his 3rd deployment and we were looking at having him try recruiting afterwards. This would allow us to still have all the great Navy benefits, but be able to live in Utah and actually see each other every night. The Navy was giving us this money to pay for housing, why not buy a house with it?

We bought our first house in 2002. It was a great little starter home in a good neighborhood. We felt like it was *our* home from the first night we stayed there. It had a great feeling to it. My mom was looking for a place to stay around the same time and moved in with us. John wasn't able to become a recruiter until 2003. He got back from his 4th deployment in 2003 and 9 months later we had our 3rd child. I was about 4 months along when John started recruiting. What a fun time! I felt like I had the best of both worlds. Not only was my husband still in the Navy, which meant I still got to see him in uniform (woohoo), we also got to be in our favorite place- Utah! We got to sleep next to each other EVERY single night. We had great benefits and a house of our own. We even had a live-in Grandma, which was awesome for everyone.

John was away on his 1st deployment when our 2nd child was born. It was so nice to have him be there for the 3rd.

The dream of having both worlds didn't last long. John wasn't quite cut out to be a recruiter and was soon sent back to San Diego. However, he was going to be on shore duty still. He wouldn't be on a ship. The wheels started turning and soon the kids and I moved down to be with him once again in San Diego. We stayed in military housing and split the mortgage with my mom who stayed behind in our home.

Living in San Diego and paying on a home in Utah wasn't cheap. We still payed our bills and played though. After a few months I became a surrogate and we were able to pay things off and really try to make better choices with our money. It was great. We were out of debt and had a good chunk of change in the bank.

Then I moved back home with the kids in 2006 as John prepared to go to another ship. But before we moved back home, I felt like we had outgrown our house.  The kids were getting older and all the rooms were full. I wasn't going to ask my mom to leave. She was an awesome room mate and an important part of our family. But I just felt like we needed to find a bigger, newer home.

Crazy lady! Here I was 7-8 months pregnant with my 1st surrobaby, living in San Diego and looking for a home in Utah. Not an easy task. But we were able to come home a weekend here or there and found a home. It was an upgrade, it was newer and bigger. However, once we put our 1st home up for sale, we couldn't afford to stay in the same area unless we wanted to pay about $40,000 more for the same size home. No thanks, so we branched out a little further and then a little further.

Unfortunately we moved too far for my mom to move with us. I was sad and I felt bad that we uprooted her. When we bought the house we were still living in San Diego.  When we moved here, we didn't realize HOW far out it was. It was a bit of a shock at first. But we soon learned the value of it. We are in another time and place. A safer time and place. We live in an awesome neighborhood! We moved in about 2 weeks after I gave birth to my 1st surrobaby. It was just the timing of it. We actually would have moved sooner, but I had to stay and give birth in California. At least I gave myself a little time to heal first and go to Disneyland of course.

John was still in the Navy and he'd either come home every so often or I'd fly out to spend a few days in San Diego with him. At one point, he was able to fly home every weekend. It was nice. I started to budget better. Really budget. I put money aside for everything- haircuts, entertainment, eating out, plane tickets. We got military discounts to fly him home, but it started to add up. Sometimes he'd have a bad week, or I'd have a bad week, and he'd fly home even though airfare was more than we should have paid for that weekend. So a little went on the credit card here and there.Then of course because he was home, we'd have to go out and do something, so we'd spend a little more money. I hate the fact that we'd pay off our cards and then slowly rack the debt back up. It's sickening.

He got out of the Navy in 2008.  We carefully planned it, attended classes together about getting out of the military. He talked to the Navy Reserves. He could get out and have a nice smooth transition. He wouldn't have to just jump into civilian life, he could be in the Reserves and still have some training, benefits and a little extra money.  He even had a job lined up. We were so excited. I calculated it all out and it was going to be about the same as having him in the Navy. Heck, it would cost us less, because we wouldn't have to fly him back and forth. (which of course was our own choice)

But the Navy Reserves didn't take him. We didn't get to keep our awesome benefits. (well we did for about a year at a heck of a price!) I was so mad! He could have stayed in the Navy active duty, but he couldn't go reserves?? He does get VA disability and that has helped us a lot! I was already matched and ready to go with my 3rd surrogacy at the time. In fact I was pregnant when John came home to live with us for good. That money helped supplement John's income and we paid off a thing or two and put more money into savings. It wasn't our plan that we'd *need* that money, but it sure was nice to have it.

Our time ran out with Tricare/Cobra and we had to get insurance through John's new job. We went from paying very little medical expenses, to paying about $10,000- $15,000 a year or more in medical expenses. So now,we usually don't have money to play. I've had to learn to be a very tight budgeter. It's nice though, because we only buy what we need or what we *really* want.

I started a change jar when we were living in our 1st house. I'd save my change and $1 bills. But then I'd spend it here and there. Now, we have a change jar and we keep adding to it until it is absolutely full. With our budget system, we pay bills from our checking account and everything else is split up into it's own little envelope or account. When the change jar is full, we cash it in at the bank and either add it to the budget funds or do something fun with it. It usually takes about 2 months to get full and it usually adds up to at least $40.00. It's kind of a fun way to save money and to see that every little bit adds up. If money's a little tight, I suggest paying for some things in cash and start saving every penny, nickel, dime and quarter. You could end up saving about $240 or more a year. Pretty painless to do so.

Even though it's tight for us, I started a transfer of $15 each paycheck into our savings. We can't just keep living paycheck to paycheck. Gotta get ahead somehow.

John is still trying to get into the Reserves. If you could throw a few prayers and good luck our way, we'd really appreciate it. In fact, he just filled something out online last week, so hopefully they'll be calling him!
I know it's not something I can count on, but it would give us better insurance and give us an extra $600 or so to work with. It would also allow John to keep part of his Navy retirement. I really would hate to see his 10 years go to waste. Not only that, but had we known the Reserves wouldn't take him (right away), he probably wouldn't have gotten out. Somehow we're making it work, but a little more money and a little less stress couldn't hurt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm not Wonder Woman

I'm a multi-tasker. That doesn't mean I get a lot done though. Oh, heavens no. It means I start a million things and never fully finish them. Well, really never is such a strong word. There are things that I finish and that I finish well. And most of the important things get taken care of.

My point? I can only focus on REALLY doing good at one thing at a time. As you can see, lately, my blog hasn't been that one thing. So what has?

My desire to lose weight. I have been exercising my butt off, literally. I've been staying on track with eating better too. Guess what? I'm seeing results. I felt like I had a good start and then felt stuck a bit, but I'm back to seeing and feeling progress.  The scale isn't showing it as much, but the mirror and my clothes are. I am in a good groove and I'm not looking back. I've been on track for about 6 weeks. What's really nice, is I'm starting to like myself again. Sad to say I wasn't so much before. But you know how it goes.. it's frustrating when nothing fits or looks good on you. And at the time I wasn't doing anything about it.

It feels so empowering to be in control and seeing results. I just need to balance other aspects of my life. I'm working on it, and posting is a step in the right direction, right? Actually I could have been blogging the last few weeks, there just wasn't much worth blogging about.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Upcoming Surrogacy Radio Interview (details you can see this time)

Link to the interview: http://www.ericksonlaw.net/surrogacy-law-radio (Airing Thursday March 10, 2011)

Details:


The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program Presents

What’s In a Name? The Gestational Carrier Name Controversy


SAN DIEGO, March 9, 2011: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban caused quite a media stir a few weeks ago when they used “gestational carrier” to describe the woman who was the surrogate for their newborn daughter. First, the Australian media created a firestorm about their statement. Then commentary came from other critics who feel women are treated like commodities when they become surrogates and believe the term gestational carrier to be particularly degrading and emblematic of this perceived issue.



On the next episode of The Surrogacy Lawyer: Your Guide to IVF and Third Party Family Building Theresa Erickson, Esq., will be interviewing Jill Hancock Reeder and Melissa Buchanan, two surro-moms who have helped other men and women become parents via surrogacy. The program will air on Thursday, March 10 at 11AM PST/2PM EST on Voice America. They will be discussing what U.S. surrogates think of the controversy, what motivated them to become surrogates and how surrogacy has changed their lives.



Jill Hancock Reeder is the proud mom of three beautiful children and proud surro-mom to one girl and to twin boys. Jill writes a blog entitled the Mormon Surrogate (http://mormonsurrogate.blogspot.com/) and wrote and recently published her first book, Once Upon a Surrogate: The Stork’s Helpers, which her daughters helped illustrate. Melissa Buchanan is a single mother from the San Diego area who just gave birth two months ago to a baby boy for her first surrogacy.



“Those of us working in third party reproduction were surprised and a little shocked over the uproar caused by Nicole Kidman’s and Keith Urban’s use of gestational carrier,” says attorney Erickson. “And even though surrogacy is perhaps better understood and accepted in the United States, misconceptions about why women decide to become surro-moms still are very common. I’m confident that Jill and Melissa can help our listeners learn what surrogates think of this media flap, as well as about other critiques of the surrogate’s role in third party family building.”



About Theresa Erickson, Esq.

Ms. Erickson is the managing partner of Erickson Law and the founder and chair of Conceptual Options, The Surrogacy and Egg Donation Center. In addition, Ms. Erickson is the author of the newly released Surrogacy and Embryo, Sperm, & Egg Donation: What Were You Thinking? Erickson was motivated to write her second book so she could educate potential intended parents, as well as the women who become surrogates and egg donors, about what all parties need to know if they are going to become involved in third party reproduction.



Attorney Erickson is a globally recognized expert in this specialized area of law and is a board member of the American Fertility Association and the legal director of Parents Via Egg Donation. For more information, please visit www.ericksonlaw.net and www.conceptualoptions.com.



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Monday, March 7, 2011

Details for upcoming Surrogacy interview with the Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program (and me)

Remember my last post?   http://mormonsurrogate.blogspot.com/2011/03/real-me-behind-computer.html 
And how I told you I'd give you more details?  Well here they are:
(This Thursday 3/10/11)


You may have to get out your magnifying glass or just click on the "image". Sorry, at full size 1/2 of it was cut off on my blog. (now it doesn't seem to be showing up at all) 
The main thing is that you come and listen, so here's the link http://www.ericksonlaw.net/surrogacy-law-radio

Mark your calendars and come listen. (3/10/11) Just remember how nervous I was.:)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Real Me (behind the computer)

I love the Internet! I love e-mails and of course my blog. Why? Because I can stop and think about what I'm going to say, how I'm going to respond. Especially if it's about something important or something that I feel so strongly about. In person, or even with a phone call, you don't always get to say everything you want to say or how you want to say it. At least that's how it is with me. I've always been better at getting my feelings out on paper; through a poem or a letter or an e-mail or blog post. If I mess up, I can just delete or erase and start over.

I had an incredible opportunity to be interviewed on an Internet radio show.  (Theresa Erickson's The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program)

When I was approached about it I was excited and flattered. I was also nervous.  I wanted to say yes, but I hesitated for a little bit. Could I do it? Could I really put myself out there and sound somewhat intelligent? Well, you'll have to tell me.

I was relieved to find out that I'd be getting a list of questions beforehand. At least I could figure out what I was going to say/how I was going to respond. I had even blogged about most of the topics, so I printed off some blog posts and highlighted key points. I also jotted down some notes. I was going to be cool and collected and sound professional. Right?

I started to get a bit of anxiety, but I had my notes, I could do this! I wanted to do it. I got over the anxiety. I had about a week to prepare. I went over it in my head and knew what I wanted to say. But then as it got to be the night before (last night) and the morning of (this morning), I started getting nervous. Deep down I'm a shy little girl and there are times when I can get anxiety, mainly social anxiety. Put me on the spot and I don't always sound like I know what I'm talking about. Sometimes I ramble or just can't think of how to say something or how to explain it. I tried not to stress over it.

I phoned in and the butterflies were causing quite a stir. I could hear it in my voice that I sounded scared and nervous. I didn't want to ramble and say too much, but I think I ended up not answering the whole question or explaining what I was really trying to say. It wasn't as easy to use my notes as I thought it would be. As time went on, I could breathe a little easier and could focus a little bit more. Overall, I'm happy with how it went, I just feel like I could have done better.  I did get some key points across, but I didn't say all I wanted to say the way I wanted to say it. But that's ok, because it's all been said and done here at my blog.

For my first experience with a live interview, I did my best and I'm proud that I did it.

There was another surrogate that was interviewed, and I thought she did awesome. She sounded quite smooth and seemed to say all the right things. After hearing her answer one of the same questions I had already answered, I thought "Oh my gosh, I didn't even mention that aspect"... grrr. Seriously I felt like such a dork. I told a little about each surrogacy experience, but it was more like technical info, not how the experience made me feel or how wonderful the families were. I hope I didn't come across as insensitive or that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I know, I'm probably beating myself up more than I should.

I am very grateful for the opportunity and for all the doors that have been opened to me since I first became a surrogate. If you would like to listen to what I'm like when I'm nervous and not hiding behind a computer, then come on over... but you'll have to wait till next Thursday, March 10th at 11 am PDT. (I'll add a more direct link if I get one)

Please come back and tell me what you thought.

P.S. Now you know why I don't do public speaking anywhere. And yet, somehow I can sing in front of strangers 99% of the time, especially if it's Karaoke!    :)