Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pushing through

Sorry again for the big gaps. I've been pushing through, trying to get as much done in the lab as I can so that I can be done with experiments and have my paper submitted before I go on maternity leave. That means today, and many weekends to come, will be spent in the lab. As much as I miss that time with Sophie and Tim, I can get way more done on the weekends without the constant distractions/interruptions that come with being in the lab during the week.

Last weekend was supposed to be my last weekend of freedom. My family came up to watch Sophie on Saturday night so that Tim and I could get in one date before the weekend working started up full steam. Unfortunately, he had a terrible sore throat, and I had GI issues, so we bagged date night. We did run some errands together (romantic, I know), but that was it. It's been months since the two of us went to dinner alone, and it will likely be several more months before we can do it again. Oh well, such is life. We don't really have the budget to be going out all the time anyway, so it is mandatory frugality.

Actually, date night was going to be sponsored by the medical school. I presented my research on the medical student research day and won a poster prize. The award was $150, which is big money to me! I split it up into three pools: 1/3 for maternity clothes, 1/3 for my steam mop, and 1/3 for a date night.

The maternity clothes came from the clearance section of oldnavy.com. I got six shirts/blouses and a pair of pants for $55. Unfortunately, sizing must have changed since I was pregnant with Sophie. I have one pair of old navy maternity jeans that I wear, and although they are a little loose, they fit ok. I ordered all but one shirt in the same size as the jeans. When the clothes came, they are HUGE!! And that's saying a lot coming from me--I like my clothes big. The pants were big, and I tried to shrink them. I think they'll be ok at the end of pregnancy, but I could fit another baby belly in them right now! The smaller size shirt fits ok, but the blouses (which were billowy to start with) are like muu muus. The issue is that it's $6 to return things, and since they were on clearance (and are no longer there), I can't exchange them for free. Most of the shirts are cotton, so I am going to try and purposely shrink them and see how it turns out. It was less than $6 a shirt, so I guess I can't complain too much. I'll know better if I ever order there again!

The steam mop was a better deal. I've been looking for one for a while, and the Eureka Enviro steamer got the best reviews. It was on sale at amazon.com for $65. I had $20 promo credit from a survey site I use, so I paid $45. And it has a $10 mail in rebate. For $35, it's only a little more than what I would pay for a swiffer wet jet or something similar. It came on Monday, and I've only used it once. Pros: only uses steam, so I don't have to put chemicals on the floor. It does a good job with spots and stickiness. And it supposedly steams to about 215 degrees, so it sterilizes the floor. Cons: the reviews said it blasted tough dirt off of tile. I have some caked on/worn on spots from high traffic (rubber soled shoes, etc), and that didn't really go away. That may involve lots of hands and knees scrubbing (once I can bend again). But, for $35, it's a great every day/weekly steam mop--much better than a wet mop. It doesn't leave a lot of wetness--and no stickiness from chemicals--and it's a quick job. The semi-annual scrubbing may just have to happen the old fashioned way.

And as I said, the last $50 for date night didn't happen. We ordered some Chinese for everyone instead, and it was nice to be social.

Actually, despite all of the recent busyness, I have gotten to be a little social. We've seen a lot of family, which is always nice. And I got to catch up with an MSTP friend who's also a busy mommy. I really appreciate having a wide group of people to talk to. I don't have a lot of people in each group--maybe one or two--and I don't get to catch up with them as much as I'd like. But I've got family who've known me forever, a few pre-college friends, a college friend, some MSTP mommy friends, some MSTP classmates, and some lab friends. Each group really lets me get in touch with a specific part of my life. I wish I would've done a better job of keeping up with people over time, but I think it's natural to move closer towards people you connect with and farther from people with whom you don't share as much in common.

And of course, there's Tim, who really serves as the daily sounding board. We have always gotten along really well and share similar interests. Some things don't even need to be discussed. Needing to be near a tv for football playoffs? Of course. Watching HGTV and discussing future remodeling projects? A favorite pastime for both of us. We really spend too much time together--we can always tell that we need to get out more when we start saying the same things at the same time. That is the downside of being too similar :)

I have been forced to be more efficient at home while I'm being crazy busy at work. We got Sophie's new big girl room finished. My mom put up the border on Monday, and we set up Sophie's bed, dresser, and bookcase. We aren't pushing her to use the room yet, but I think she likes it. The colors cam out very cute (after painting it several months ago, I was worried, but it all worked out). It inspired us to paint the rest of the house. We've got the living room, dining room, nursery, and last upstairs bedroom left. Home Depot had paint on sale last weekend, so we bought a few gallons to round out what we already had at home. I have no idea when we'll actually have time to paint, but when we do, I think it'll look finished (finally). Never though it'd take three years to paint the house!

I've been doing rebates and coupon clipping as much as possible too. I don't have nearly the time I used to, but I try to cherry pick the best deals. With two in daycare by the end of the year, we need to save every penny we can. Coupons/sales are one little way to help. It does add up!

I also got caught up (almost) on pictures. I had a coupon for a free photo book, so that inspired me to load the rest of the pics on the computer. I can't believe how big Sophie has gotten! I don't have the pictures on this computer, but I'll try to do better about getting a few up here and there.

My blot incubation is almost up--back to work! I'll try to be better about posting, at least on the weekends when I am in lab and have a few minutes. The next few months will be brutal, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be done!

Oh, and I start the third trimester tomorrow. How crazy is that?

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