Sunday, February 28, 2010

What was that again?

Here is a conversation from this morning:

Rachel: Where we going?
Me: To church
Owen: Why to church?
Me: Because we want to.
Rachel: Why going to church?
Me: Because we want to.

Later, another conversation:

Owen: Is it dark out?
Me: No, it's light out.
Rachel: Is it dark out?
Me: No, it's light out.
Owen: Is it lunch time?
Me: Yes, it's lunch.
Rachel: Is it lunch time?
Me: Yes, it's lunch.

When I talk about saying the same things all day long or feeling like I'm losing my mind, I'm not exaggerating all that much.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Yup, that's me laughing. Because really, what else can you do? We don't have control in life over much, except how we respond to what happens.

Last April, we became debt free except our mortgage. And it felt awesome. For 2 months. Then we discovered our air conditioner in our van didn't work. And of course, you don't discover something like this until it's hot and you need the air conditioning to work so that was not a pleasant trip. The cost to repair it was more than the value of the van. And they weren't done estimating the final cost yet. And they didn't know if it would mess up anything else in the process.

Now, we had two choices. I suppose we actually had three, but keeping a van with no ac was not a choice we considered. So our two choices were to take out a loan or find something that we could pay cash for. We had some cash saved up but not a huge amount.

I adore Dave Ramsey and agree with much of what he says but this is one area we have trouble with. He would say to pay cash and drive around something that is less than pretty while we save up more cash and then trade it in for a better vehicle. I'm not saying that wouldn't work but we don't like worrying about vehicles or dealing with repairs. I'm home with 4 children - I like to know there is a reliable vehicle in my garage for those days that we just need a change of scenery.

So, we went with a loan. We were able to buy a 2007 van with a dvd player and the extra st0w-n-go seating and we love it. We paid off the loan last August and were able to once again say, we're debt free!

And then last week, Josh came home and said the truck was making a horrible sound. His truck is a 95 Chevy that we bought in 98. He had taken it in a few weeks before and was told it needed about $1000 worth of repairs. We were holding off on those because we had just spent $1400 on it last December. With this new noise, the estimated repair was $400 . . . or a new engine rebuild. We had been looking ahead and planned to purchase a new truck sometime in the near future because our current one was an extended cab with only 2 doors and it was not very family-friendly. We all fit, but just barely, and it resembled a clown car watching us all get out. Just when you thought we must be all out because there was no way one more person could be in there, out popped another one. :)

So, as I was saying, we had planned to purchase another truck next year sometime after we had saved up cash. But now we were looking at $1400 in repairs, at least. To a 15-year-old truck that didn't fit us that well and that we didn't really want anymore.

Okay, we give up!

We went shopping Monday night to look at some different trucks and happened to find a 2007 quad cab (4 doors!) with only 17,000 miles! Now that we've accepted that we'll have another loan, I'm excited about this. It would have been nice if we could have had more cash saved up so we could continue to say we're debt-free but that's okay. We'll pay it off as soon as we can and in the meantime, I will love opening the back door for the kids to climb in.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Write those goals down!

I have heard that said so many times - write down your goals. Why don't I do this? I love to plan and think about goals. I love using pen and paper. Why do I make lists and not specific goals? I think part of it is fear of not achieving those goals. I also tend to over-analyze so I'll try to not get off topic here.

The last couple of weeks, I have worried that maybe I wasn't doing enough with Tori. Maybe she wasn't being pushed enough or that I wasn't working with her enough. There were times that she would ask a question, like how to read the number "173" and I would get so upset - how does she not know this already???

But today, it hit me just how far she's come. She's getting 10 out of 10 on all her spelling tests - and spelling wasn't her strong subject at the beginning of the year. It took a long time for her to learn how to read and spelling just didn't come naturally. Now she's reading more on her own and starting to remember how the letters go together.

Her math today was on comparing numbers. At first glance, I thought it'd be a piece of cake for her - just putting 4 numbers in order from least to greatest - like 203, 378, 410, and 821. Then I looked at a problem further down and it was a little more challenging - like 45, 54, 301, 310. I checked back a couple minutes later and she was getting them all right. So, she does understand place value. Whew.

I realized tonight that at the beginning of the year, I thought about what I wanted each of my kids to achieve this year. But I never wrote it down. I need to do that and look at the list every so often to remind myself of where we're going, to know what direction to take. I'm off to find a notebook now.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

They're 'free!

For those of you who may not speak toddler, that's "three". Rachel and Owen celebrated their third birthday on Tuesday. The pictures are from their party last Saturday. I've accepted that I will never win "Mother of the Year" for birthday parties or cakes. It's usually a low-key family event with a regular cake. They carried the cake mix and frosting around after I bought them, knowing it was for them and feeling special so I'm okay with that.

Continuing with the John Deere theme from Christmas

Rachel is definitely all-girl

How can so much cuteness be in one picture?

The struggle for independence has already begun. I know I would not want them to stay babies forever but this in-between stage is hard. It's just easier sometimes to do things for them instead of letting them learn to do it for themselves. It takes patience to explain and wait for them and let them make mistakes. But that's how we learn, right?

I have been thinking about success lately and how we define it. Success is not always about prospering. It's not always about things turning out. Sometimes we succeed when we try something that fails and we realize how "not" to do it. As long as we learn from that mistake, then I think that's how we succeed. I know these things have been said before (really, there are very few original thoughts anymore) but sometimes you don't realize the truth of an idea until you've experienced it. Sometimes you feel like a failure but as you look back over your experience and realize how you've grown and matured and understand more now, you realize that the mistake wasn't worthless. That it's only worthless if you continue to beat yourself up over it and never move forward.

That might be a bit heavy for a three-year-old to understand. But it's good for me to remember as I let them slowly and painfully try to do things on their own and let them make mistakes.