Friday, August 29, 2008

A Day With Aunt Jenny and Uncle Matt

On Thursday last week I met my sister halfway with the kids. We did a little shopping and had lunch and then Brendan and Tori went to her house for a couple days. They were really excited about going - Tori was lamenting that it was only 2 days and said she wanted to live there. It's okay, I'm tough. :) Besides, I know how she feels - I like having Aunt Jenny to myself, too. It's like a mini-vacation for the kids when they go there. She plans the menus around their favorite foods and always picks at least one neat place to go.

This time they went to a place in the mall called Ridemakerz, where you build your own car. The cars are really cool and the kids had a blast. They also went to a sports store and each got a basketball. Thanks Uncle Matt and Aunt Jenny!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cutting Coupons

Once upon a time, when my life was simpler, I started coupon shopping. There was a Meijer not too far away that doubled coupons up to a $1 and there were many great deals to be had. Then this Meijer stopped doubling and life got more complicated and I decided it wasn't worth the effort. Then Rachel and Owen were born and it was all I could do to make sure we had bread and milk in the house - who cared how much I paid for it? Now I am feeling like I have more control over my life and I have started to take back my grocery spending. It was getting way out of control because for so long the important thing was convenience, not cost.

It all started when I was blog-hopping one night. I found a blog by a friend from college and she had quite a few blogs on there about saving money. I started reading a few and thought, "Wow, these people are serious about it." I read more and started thinking, "I wonder if I could do this?" I decided to start out slow. I've been trying to pay attention to it for about a month now, maybe more, and have been excited with my success. I am actually spending less time shopping and spending less and feeling more in control over what we have and what I buy. I love it!

I am also getting addicted to samples and drawings. Are all addictions bad? I don't think so. I hope not. Maybe "addiction" is too strong of a word. Anyways, one of the websites I found while blog-hopping is called The Coupon Coup and has lots of great info on deals and coupons and all kinds of thing. She is having a drawing and to enter, you had to post about coupons or deals and then include a link to her blog. Pretty creative, huh? So I thought I'd give it a shot. My favorite "coupon coup" was getting paid (after rebate) to buy 4 bags of Hershey candy. With the coupons and sale price at Walgreens, it was $2 oop (that's coupon lingo for "out of pocket") and then it qualified for a $5 rebate. I was hooked after that. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

House For Sale!

It's done! It is ready for sale. We worked very hard the past three days but it was definitely worth it. Now it's time to advertise - more decisions. :) Buy a website service, create a flyer on our own, use the paper? So many different options. And we should probably do more than one. Actually, I guess the main decision right now is deciding if we use a website service or if we just create our own flyer and advertise through the local paper. More pros and cons to think about. :)

In the meantime, our house has been thoroughly cleaned. I'm feeling optimistic about keeping it this way because I feel like everything has its place now. I'm also feeling better about starting the school year. We'll see how long this optimism lasts. :) We only have two of our four children home right now and they were only up for an hour before it was bedtime. I might be singing a different tune tomorrow night.

I took pictures to use in a flyer and also as proof that our house actually did look this clean once!

A kitchen countertop that is cleaned off - amazing! This will be the biggest challenge for me to maintain. Things have a way of piling up here and becoming a mountain so quickly.

It feels so good to finally be ready to take this step and see what happens. And if nothing happens, I'm so glad to have a house that is de-cluttered and organized.

Tickle, Tickle, Tickle

Rachel has recently started "tickling". She'll tickle her toes or Owen's (or anyone else's) and loves to say "tickle, tickle, tickle". I got her on video on the way home tonight. I tried to get Owen to do something but he was feeling camera-shy.

I didn't realize she was putting her finger in her nose! Or that I was talking so much. :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting Ready

I don't like to make decisions. I especially don't like to make definite decisions. I hate committing to anything until the last possible minute. I say words like "probably" and "most likely" way too often. I over-think and over-analyze everything. I list the pros and cons of a decision and then go through each pro or con and give it a rating system based on 1 to 10 . . . okay, not really, but it's not a bad idea. I just hate making mistakes. I hate regretting decisions I made, especially when maybe those decisions could have been reversed had I just thought about it a little bit more. I get what is called "paralysis analysis", or is it "analysis paralysis", often, even with little decisions.

So, after much talk (lots and lots of talk!) and thought (lots and lots of thinking!), I'm fairly sure (see, I did it again!) that we will be putting our house up for sale this weekend. Or soon after. I know, I have issues. :)

Brendan and Tori had the opportunity to go camping with Josh's parents this weekend and they were thrilled about it. They love everything about camping. I love a lot of things about it but not the dirt - if it could just be cleaner. Anyways, I said I would take them up to their house and then had the bright idea of seeing if my parents (who live in the same town) would be able to watch Owen and Rachel for a couple days. They said that would be fine so now I have a few days at home with no children around. That means no excuses for not getting things done. :)

My goal is to take advantage of this time and get the house ready to sell. There isn't much to do but it could be time consuming if done right - organizing, sorting, all that kind of stuff. We hope to have a sign up and an ad in the paper by Monday. I'm still not sure that I want to move or that it would be best for us but I'm sure I'll analyze it some more. :) In the meantime, we'll see what happens. And we'll have a cleaner, more organized house.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Well-Behaved Rachel

I changed my mind - Rachel would not be a well-behaved little girl if her brother wasn't around to give her ideas - she just wouldn't get caught as often! She is no saint, no matter what she wants me to believe. I don't know why I continue to buy toys when they would really rather play with the guitar from guitar hero, climb on the table or pull off all the books, cd's and dvd's. I might as well box up their toys and just let them have at it. Can you tell it's been a long day? It's nap time now so all is well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Owen's 1st Haircut

This was not my idea at all. I absolutely loved his adorable curls in the back. But last Friday night when I gave him a bath, I saw that when his hair was wet, it went down to his back, past his neck. I hoped Josh wouldn't notice. Then I made the mistake of having Josh comb his hair and he made several comments about how ridiculously long it was. I decided it'd be better if I cut it and could control how much was cut rather than having Josh take him somewhere and getting it cut really short. So on Saturday morning, we got him all set up.
I don't care what Josh says, I didn't think he looked like a girl at all. He did very well and sat still, except when I was ready to cut. Then he'd turn and try to see what I was doing with those scissors so close to his head. :) He also decided it was as good a time as any to suck his thumb.
It wasn't the most even hair cut but there are some curls left and Josh seems satisfied. I'd like to take him to a professional to get it evened out but now I have pictures for the scrapbook and the hair clippings in a bag so nothing needs to be documented.
Doesn't he look like a little man? Except for the thumb sucking. :) He is just the sweetest and yet, most exasperating, little boy. He does not listen and seems to have to learn lessons the hard way and that doesn't even always work! I will be so frustrated with him but then as soon as I pick him up, he puts his thumb in his mouth and gently pats my back. How can you stay upset with that?
If I start going gray, I'm blaming it on him. :) Just today, he has climbed on the table 4 times and tried to grab a pan on the stove while it was hot. I think Rachel would be a very well-behaved little girl if it were not for his bright ideas. She was also on the table but tried to scoot off as fast as she could when she saw me coming. He is either defiant and doesn't care that he's not supposed to be on there or he hasn't figured it out yet. I don't know what would be better. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

High School Friends

My scanner is still saying there is an error and I haven't wanted to take the time to troubleshoot it so here is the recent picture of my friends and I from high school.
From left to right, Bethany, Claudia, me and Lori (and her 2 year old, Brayden). He kept trying to slide off and she was trying to keep him up. It's amazing to me how I feel like I'm a teenager again when I'm with them. Definitely fun times! I guess I'll just have to post those pictures from high school another time. :)

Lessons Learned

There have been a lot of lessons learned around here this past week. Some have been humorous, some have felt like a big accomplishment and others feel like they should have been learned before.

The kids are done with swimming lessons this year. Brendan learned to dive and Tori jumped off the diving board all by herself and swam to the side! They both did great and I'm proud of them. I know it looks like Tori is going to hit her rear in the picture but it's just a weird angle. She cleared the board!

Owen learned that he can't yet take his shirt off by himself. I'm not sure why he thought that would be a good idea this morning but he got himself stuck and was not amused by it.

Rachel learned that pine trees are picky. Ouch!

Yesterday, I received our homeschool supplies that I had ordered. There were 2 big boxes and 1 smaller box. Imagine my delight when I opened one up to find all these great books! I knew I was getting them but it was still exciting to hold them all.

Later I started to go through the instructor's manual. I'm not kidding, it is the largest binder I have ever seen. Now, one of the reasons I bought this curriculum was because they have an instructor's manual with everything laid out for the whole year. I just didn't realize how huge that would be! And how overwhelming it would feel. I began to get a little depressed thinking about school starting soon and wondering how in the world I was going to get through the year on my own. The lesson I am learning (again) is that I can't. I can't get through anything on my own. But if I lean on God and look to Him, He will give me wisdom and strength and patience and everything I need. I have been guilty of trying to do it all on my own. Like my nephew said when he was 3, "I can do it by me-self!"

It gets frustrating to have to learn the same lesson over and over again. To feel like things are going so well and you really have a handle on things and then to fall flat on your face and realize that once again, you became prideful and started thinking you could do it all and you didn't need any help. Okay, God, I'm back on my knees again and ready to stand but only with Your help this time.

And now I need to find a place to store our new books.