Sunday, August 31, 2008

Prone to Wander

Tonight it was my turn to pick our movie (the kids get to watch a movie and have popcorn if they're good during church, and we take turns picking the movie). I chose "America's Choir" -- about the Tabernacle choir (you can imagine the children's picks are not quite as celestial as mine). We initially bought it for Drew to use in class, so I had never seen it -- but I was happy to see that in it, is my favorite Tabernacle Choir Number "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". I loved it at BYU, and I still love it now.
For those of you unfamiliar with the tune the main part in which you really feel inspired is this:

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above."

I was brought back to Relief Society today. We had another combined meeting about Proposition 8. I've been having SUCH a hard time with it lately, and the last thing I needed was another lesson on it. I have my lists, I have my donation slip, my yard sign is on its way -- but I have yet to take the big steps. And why is that?
I am afraid.
I am prone to wander.
I am prone to worry.
My heart is not yet sealed.

I was miserable in the class. I was inspired by some of the things said there. I was also appalled by the things that will come along with this bill. Realizing that committing gay marriage to law brings it as a "norm."

Some of you may be shocked to know that I was adamantly pro-choice in high school. I felt that it was a woman's right to choose, and that Satan's path was to make us do something. One day someone gave a talk in General Conference that changed all that for me. He said that there is no reason our laws shouldn't back-up what we believe. Am I pro-abortion? No, of course not. I doubt anyone is (in the general context -- they might find it right for themselves in sticky situations but should be avoided if possible). It was a mind frame switch for me. The things I believe so strongly should be backed-up by the law.

And yet, here I sit with 100 proposition 8 fliers sitting by my front door untouched.

Do I believe in gay marriage? No, I think that children reared in that environment aren't given the best opportunities to thrive. Period. Who cares what they're doing behind closed doors because frankly, that's what a marriage is about -- rearing children. And while gays can't actually conceive children -- many of them plan to have families.

So, how do I seal my heart? Who do I get on the firm foundation to go out and knock on doors.

I will pray. I will ask Heavenly Father for help -- for He is the only one that can truly seal my heart. So whatever kind of response I get at those doors I can say, "thanksforyourtime." and go on to my next knock.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sleepy

Man, the bay area sure is hot as of late.

PAINFULLY hot.

I don't pay this freakishly high mortgage to deal with heat.

Luckily, we have A/C as well as a nicely shaded backyard.

My condolences to the rest of you.

I need a nap in this type of heat (as well as in certain type of cooling, wind, rain, sleet... etc.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What Spencer is Up To

Well, Spencer is getting a LOT of quality time right now. His preschool doesn't start for a few weeks so we've dove headfirst into lessons. I thought I'd share what I've decided to do with him this year.

1. He does 3 workbooks. One about numbers, one about letters, and one about something else (it's rhyming right now). Most of what I'm focusing on is writing. That's a big issue for little boys, and so I put a lot of emphasis on it. I'm not talking about making stories, I'm talking about actually forming letters. Plus, sitting down and focusing on something is a great skill to learn. The books we're using right now also have a lot of coloring included with them, which is good. Spencer has just recently REALLY gotten into coloring. It's one of my favorite phases. :) Most of our workbooks were bought at Costco. It's a GREAT resource for the preschool sect (as well as good summer learning stuff for the older kids).

2. On the first day of the week that we do lessons we do a physical math thing. I have a great box from costco (here it is online). I LOVE this box, because it keeps them all there and organized. It has beading for patterns, counting blocks, foam shapes to build things, a spinner for some of the activities, and a set of cards. I highly recommend the set. I started Spencer with it when he was about 3, I think. I just started adding a page from the workbook along with the physical skills. The workbook is fairly advanced. He's did fine with it. The other days of the week I'm gonna rotate between:
  • name writing (first and last -- including capital letters in just the right places -- there's a lot of great places to make these worksheets online)
  • cutting (saving up all the kids catalogues I get -- btw, this is a skill we JUST started because I have a scissor paranoia -- that's a blog for another day)
  • dice math (he rolls the dice and we add or subtract the numbers -- I got giant dice from the dollar store -- they're a big hit)
  • flashcards (probably will do some sequencing and some rhyming, possibly some sentence making)
  • games (nothing better than a good educational game)
  • and crafts (I still have some left from www.achildswork.com )
3. Then we do reading. I got some good readers that Conner's school was throwing out last year. The kind where they progressively get a little more difficult. However, you could easily do this at your local library, getting a few new books each time you go. I learned from Conner's teachers that re-reading the same things over and over really enhances their ability to read. I'd never really thought of it (and I think I actually did the opposite with Conner, making sure he read a huge variety). Now we read each story 3 times (of course there's a sticker chart involved -- I am ALL about the sticker charts). It really has helped. It's good for him to recognize words he didn't get right the first time. And it's a feeling of accomplishment when he can read it through all by himself on the 3rd time and he "graduates" to a new story.

So far, this is taking about 45 minutes out of my day. Since he is SUCH a meticulous color-er right now sometimes it's taking longer, but since he can do some of that independently I'll clean out the dishwasher or do some little tasks while he's doing it.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing, but I'd love to hear what you guys do with your kids! I'm looking for new things to add to our cutting skills, etc.

How Does Your Garden Grow

As the peak growing season is starting to wane (although, frankly my tomatoes are just starting to come into their own) I found some seeds on clearance at Walgreens yesterday (when I was getting my string cheese). Some of them were things that will grow well in the fall here, like peas and carrots. So, we bought them and planted them this morning.

I was thinking how like life a garden is. You have to tend, water, keep re-planting just to sustain it. It's that way with kids, and sharing the gospel, your marriage, a positive outlook on life.

Of course, you could do all that and a nasty squirrel comes in and steals your produce. BTW, we are one less cantaloupe thanks to them. I haven't seen them for a while actually - and I know the cantaloupe wasn't near ripe. Perhaps they got a nasty surprise from stealing from us.

But I digress.

I hope we get some produce well into the fall months through this. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Deals this Week

Sorry peeps they're only for the South Bay -- but I'd love input on what deals YOU guys find -- so here are mine:
Lucky
Bayview Farms Ice Cream 2/$5 (cheapest I've seen it in a while)
Bar S Hotdogs 88 cents (with coupon)
Yoplait 10/$5
Tostinos bogo (buy one get one free)

Savemart
Crystal Light 2/$5 (big containers are 2/6) (not an amazing deal, but with Drew in marching band, we've been going through it FAST)
General Mills Cereal, Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks and Fiber One Bars 4/$6 (you have to buy 4 to get this deal -- but creal for 1.50 is pretty nice)

Safeway
Broccoli Crowns 88 cents (nice to cut-up and serve with ranch to the kiddos)
General Mills Cereals are $1.49
Lays chips $1.79
Hillshire farms sausage b1 get 1 free
Red Peppers 99 cents
mission Tortillas 10 count small 99 cents


Walgreens
String Cheese (6) or Shredded cheese (8 oz -- mexican or cheddar) 2/$3 (must use coupon)
Quaker Oatmeal BOGO

I've been thinking fajitas sounded good lately -- found a yummy recipe on a blog I peruse:
http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2008/08/skillet-chicken-fajitas.html
I like how the seasoning doesn't come from a packet (because yes, mine ususally does).

What deals have you found? My friend Kim sometimes finds some doozies, and I'd like to have a bigger deal base to munch from. :)
ETA: Thanks to Kim for adding some for me! I wish I'd talked to her before I went to Lucky's. ;)

Being Responsible

It's day #2, and I'm already losing it with Conner. Today he walked out to the van without a care in the world (or his backpack or his lunch) and I asked him 4 times if he was all ready to go "yeah mom" Then he saw my not-so subtle glance around his area to see that NO he was NOT ready... and he ran back in to get his stuff.
As I'm vacuuming this morning he has stuff EVERYWHERE. He's much busier this year than he has been in the past, I will agree. With scouts, and soccer and piano it's a lot on his shoulders, but not much more than I had at the age of 8.
So, what do you do? How do you make sure that stuff is cleaned up before school? I know it often ends in a tyrade of me promising the car will go no where until it's done.
Do you just let it go?
I guess I'm just not that kind of mom.
Anyway, as I look at it I have a few strategies.
1. Cleaned-up before bed (and any time they waste doing that, they just lose for their reading in bed time)
2. Cleaned up before school (I don't make a big deal about it, but we go no-where til' it's done).
I think the problem is not freaking out on them about it. I just get SO tired of cleaning up after them.
Perhaps I could let perfection go a bit -- but really, is that an option?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dawn is Breaking very Softly

I fell asleep while reading Breaking Dawn.
Seriously, NEVER would've happened with the other books. I'm just not entraced.
It's not as well written, it's midly confusing. I'll admit I'm within the first 100 pages -- but does anyone else feel this way? I kept it thinking I'd devour it once school started. But instead I'd rather surf blogs.
Sad, but true.

First Day Twitters

Somehow that first day always gets me. I remember it didn't happen last year because things were so familiar -- but this year there was just a wave. I didn't even introduce myself to the teacher yet! {gasp}

The unknown for your child is so much worse than the unknown for yourself. However, as I look around at our friends sharing the same class as us I am excited for Conner. I think he's going to have a great year.

And get how excited Spencer is for him. Let's just say this is the earliest Spencer's been up and dressed in a while -- and I think his face says it all. :)


Oh, and DID I MENTION I get an extra 1/2 an hour this year? For some reason k-1 gets out 30 minutes earlier than 3-5. Oh, what to do with that time? I'm sure I'll think of something. Like languishing on the couch thinking about how dumb I was to get in an accident. Something like that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Marred Brand New Start

Guess who had a little fender bender today...
{sigh}
It's hard to have a happy new start when you have a dented rear fender.
I need some cheering up.

A Brand New Start

Along with my kid's brand new start with a new school year (doesn't everything feel so fresh and new right now?) I am back to my old ways.

Eating consciously has gone out the window as I've been working more and had to snarf stuff down just to survive Apparently I've been doing MORE than surviving though, if you catch my drift. Working out has also been pushed to the side. I'm vowing to get back on the wagon for both of these things.

I feel more fresh and new in the fall than I do at the beginning of the school year than I do at the beginning of the year (although that also sometimes has an effect on me).

I even bought some new plants to replace the ones that aren't lookin' so hot. New plants always makes a girl happy! Conner has a whole day to do whatever he wants. Very few limitations. Video games, computer time (when mom doesn't need it), games, playdough -- the world is his oyster before he starts back to the grind. I also got soccer schedules last night. It's going to rock our little worlds {sigh}. I sure wish that kid loved theater more. :)

Go Team!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Me, Walkin' the Streets

Time to tie-up my leather boots -- it's time to walk the streets.

No, Drew isn't pimpin' me out -- it's for something I believe strongly in.

Proposition 8.

Californians hopefully know that our fine courts overturned a vote that was done in 2000 in which the voters decided that marriage was between a man and a woman. Well, they decided that was unconstitutional and hence you've seen all the celeb weddings of men/men, women/women. But, in November that will be up for a vote again.

I believe so strongly that marriage NEEDS to be defined as between a man and a woman that I am going to walk the streets, I'm having a lawn sign. People, I'm even donating money. {gasp}

I am also VERY nervous. I know that the area in which we life (not our specific neighborhood -- more the area as a whole) is full of people who believe strongly on the other side -- and let's face it, I'm a lover not a fighter. I don't want to hurt those people -- but this is an issue in which we will disagree.

Have any of you done anything like this before? Do you have thoughts?

If you live somewhere that you're not being asked to do this -- do you think you could? Knowing you might have some very negative feelings bounced at you.

Of course, I'm gonna bring Spencer, because who's gonna yell at me in front of a four year old. Plus, it's something our whole family feels very strongly about. Personally, I always welcome anyone who has feelings to share them with me in an informational manner, and then I can make my own decision. I hope to share the info with the people.

If anyone has come to this blog looking for information, here it is:
  • This amendment isn't taking anything away from gay/lesbian couples. They will still have the same civil union right as before (btw, I am FINE with civil unions).
  • It is worded very badly (I believe the wording is "take away the rights of homosexuals to marry").
  • We voted on this 8 years ago, and then like 4 justices on the CA supreme court thought they could overturn what MILLIONS of people voted for. It wasn't even close -- we got 61% of the vote! That just hurts. It hurts if it's for organic coffee or gay marriage, or whatever we're voting for. A vote of the people shouldn't be overturned. I personally feel there's a special place for those justices when their time comes, but I digress.
Feel free to email me if you have more questions, I welcome them!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Great Teacher Saga

So, I was doing fine up until about 45 minutes til' we were set to go see the class lists.
Conner got into a great class, and I'm so glad that I left it to last year's teacher. The key is to get in the good teacher's class at the start, and make friends -- and then threaten them with large percussionists to make sure your kid's in the right class the next year. :) Well, maybe the threats were idle (and maybe they weren't). I'm excited for the school year now -- bring on the multiplication tables (btw, 3rd grade -- my LEAST favorite year by a MILE).
Go team.

Squeezing the Last Bits

Right now, I feel like I have a partially dry washcloth, and I'm just SQUEEZING it -- trying to get the last bits of summer to come-out. We're having a little get together with a few friends today. The Fall just isn't my favorite time of year. I have a stressed husband, Conner always seems to have behavioral issues (at home, not at school) while he's making the transition into school. Spencer is already bitter that preschool doesn't start til' well after Conner's started. But, such is life little friend.

I am excited for uninterrupted Spencer time, as this is the last year that will happen. Next year, it's off into the clutches of Kindergarten and all the fun that will afford us.

I am still working a lot during this time period, which is unusual. Ever since I went Per Diem, the fall has been my time to take it easy. Who knows though, my work likes to cancel me a lot -- I might be more "off" than I' had planned.

I think perhaps the fall is the largest reminder that you must drag yourself and your life on. Nothing stays the same. Instead of the cute Kindergartener that Conner is in my head, I have a smart 3rd grader who is ready to learn all new stuff. Instead of my baby, I have a preschooler. I can't believe he's that big and I remember thinking that Conner was SO big at that point. YEESH, what was I thinking?

Perhaps it's the fact that I can't sleep past 6:15 as of late -- I'm getting overly emotional.

Of course, the excitement of new teachers and new friends.

That's always nice.

Isn't it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Vacuum Will Keep You Awake

We've been having issues with our vacuum for MONTHS, since like April. I'm SO tired of it today I finally threw in the towel. The guy that had tried to fix it said he'd give us a good deal on a new one. I took my 40 million pound Hoover Windtunnel in, and came out with this yellow deamon.
I honestly was just done, and I had always felt like this guy had been honest with us -- so I hadn't don't TOO much research. Turns-out this guy's a beaut. I'm really happy with my purchase. You can read more about it here. Some issues I worry about -- it doesn't have onboard tools (but he threw the attachments in, along with a few bags), I liked not having to buy bags with my windtunnel (but I didn't like the dirt going all over whe I emptied it) and it is without bells and whistles -- but our last one was FULL of bells and whistles and it got us nowhere fast. The guy says he never gets repairs on it, so hopefully that holds fast -- because I was TIRED of visiting him with my broken vacuum.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Teacher Time

Awh, it's that time of year again. Drew starts back to school (officially -- since he's been back for WEEKS of unpaid time already) tomorrow. With that, Conner's room assignment will be posted on Friday.
I should just start stocking up on tums now.
Or should I?
Sometimes I feel like I've put too much love, attention and admiration into Conner's teachers. Truth might be that I'd love ANY teacher. Frankly, I am fairly easily pleased by those who reach a minimum standard. True, he's had amazing teachers, but what are the chance that if I had a different teacher one of those years, that I wouldn't have similar feelings towards that teacher?
Anyway, I don't feel the same trepidation as I have in years before in this area. However, talk to me on Friday. :)
Do you get anxious about teacher assignments? Should I take out stock in Tums since Spencer will be entering our public school system next year....

We also got Conner's star testing results back. He got a look at them and immediately announced how advanced he was. I was quick to show him the different places that he'd missed answers. I don't really get the whole star testing. Conner's teacher could have easily told the state where he was last year. It is nice to see an impartial piece of paper say that he's doing pretty well... but really not worth the $$ it costs the district!

In other news, our teachers are still working without a contract. That's right, they haven't had one since the 2006-2007 school year. Parents, it's up to us to make this NOT OK. Our teachers deserve to have their contract settled. I would plan to see picketing, and teachers cutting back on their "off" hours when they often help students. Unless of course you have my husband -- then he'll be ignoring the union because he loves band so. Lucky us.

Zombie

Work. Grrr....
interesting article on the church website:
http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/what-you-will-find-when-you-step-inside-a-mormon-chapel
A good one to share with friends before they come to church with you.
Agreed to work half a shift tomorrow evening.
I am very dumb.

Did I mention our ward had a thing about the gay marriage ammendment we're voting on this fall here in CA. Looks like me and my crew will be walkin' the streets sharing our views.
I am
very.
nervous.
about that. But wanting to stand for something -- give something my all.
Or at least a little effort.
You know, somewhere in there.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, Monday...

Oh, sweet Monday. Usually you hold such promise. Unless I'm working -- which is rare. Luckily, Drew has his last "at home" (in body, if not in mind) day so our children can run amuck while he solves the world's marching band problems.

I am looking for some big finish to our summer. Something VERY fun (compensating for the fact that mom's been at work the past 4 days un-expectedly). Perhaps we'll invite some peeps over and have a big sprinkler party... I've thought about going to the local amusement park but I am hoping there's something I can do at home that's just as fun without the $$ investment. Any ideas?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Garden Update

Our Garden has actually done pretty darn well this year. I LOVE our drip system. It has really cut down on weeds and obviously how much time I have to spend watering. If it wasn't for some nasty squirells, I think we'd have a better harvest -- but I suppose feeding some of God's smaller creatures has its own blessings (which may have been negated by the words I chose to yell at them as I saw them rippping our corn out -- but I digress). Above you'll see our giant green onion crop. These have done REALLY well, and it's so nice to just go out and pick one when I need one. I think I'm going to plant a new crop here soon for the fall.

This is our pumpkin, and I actually had to cut it from the vine this past week. I'm really hoping it will make it til' Halloween. It's really big and I know it would be fun for the kids to have their "own" pumpkin to display.

This is my favorite of the bunch. It's our canteloupe -- we have a few on the vines. I'm really excited to see how they taste, etc. I will give another update when they're ripe (and larger than this).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Band Garage Sale

Hey local friends -- Drew's band is having a garage sale tomorrow AM. There's always some goodies to be had. If you need more info, please email me (link in my profile).

Eleven Glorious Years

While I joke that these past 11 years have been the most painful, gut-wrenching years available -- they've actually been pretty great.
I was talking to some friends the other night and said that I really wasn't in love with marriage our first year. And this is totally true. We were both working, I was in the last year of nursing school and Drew had a million musical groups he was in (shocking, but true). We didn't see each other much, money was EXTREMELY tight and our apartment was smaller than our living room now (just getting used used to moving here). But after that (I graduated a year later) it improved immensely and I slowly settled into how I wanted to be as a married lady. Here are eleven of my favorite times with Drew.

1. Getting out couch into our first apartment. It was a fold-out blue velvet wonder from DI, and I got the giggles while we were doing it, leaving Drew to do most of the man-work. Let's just say it wasn't pretty, and it's impressive he didn't just drop it and run away from me. :)

2. Going to Disneyland together after I graduated. Drew and I had a very short honeymoon (we had to get back for band camp -- of course) but we went to Disneyland the next year and had SUCH a great time together. It was our first time away from the pressures of it all, and even though we had to live on bologna and rolls, we had a great time. :)

3. Drew as a new father. Drew loves little babies. I'm not so sure that he LOVES newborns -- but he loves the wee ones. He loves to play with them in church and just enjoy that they'll smile at you without back talking. It's one of my favorite things.

4. Coming to CA together. I bawled as we drove through the salt flats (but really, who wouldn't?) and it was definitely the hardest decision we've ever made but it was nice to know we were making it together, that we were in it together and we were gonna "make it after all." :)

5. Drew dealing with me going back to work more full time. I'm sure it was hard on him -- because I made it clear that I was working a lot, and he needed to pitch in. And pitch he did. He had Conner with him so much that first year we moved here. Conner thought he was going to high school. Of course, the kids adored him -- but Drew was so good to just take him everywhere with him.

6. Drew as a director. I wasn't super-fond of my director, but at the same point I idolized him a bit. Drew is amazing. He always puts the kids before the program and they love him for it. Yes, he's getting more cranky as the years drone on -- but who can blame him?

7. The night I had kidney stones. Drew was so worried about me. Since I usually am in charge of all things medical at our house, for something to be wrong and me have the wrong-ness -- well, it was just wrong for him. He didn't know what to do, and I insisted on driving myself while throwing up. Poor Drew.

8. When he left me to go do a lesson plan while I was in labor. Let's be realistic. Sometimes he puts the kids before me. While this wasn't one of my FAVORITES -- I couldn't be TOO positive. He can't get THAT big of a head. It's just 11 years of marriage, not a Nobel peace prize...

9. Drew as a scout father. He LOVES doing it with Conner. It's just like when he was a newborn and they'd play all the time together. They're always in that scout book working on stuff. It's been great for both of them!

10. My photography business. Although it doesn't make much money, Drew has always said for me to go ahead and do it. Buy the camera, start a business -- whatever. He just wants me to persue my hobbies. That's a nice feeling, and one that I know a lot of wives wouldn't get.

11. Buying the house. Drew pushed, I resisted -- but we finally did it. As we walked into that title company ready to sign my entire life away for 1/2 million dollars it was nice to know I was doing it with Drew. We hold title equally and joint-ly just like we do our marriage. I'm so grateful to know he's always there.

And SOME fool said she'd work a bunch of extra shifts the next few days so I'd better be off.

LOVE YOU Drew! I hope you have a great day! I gave him a bouquet of 11 Dr. Peppers this AM -- now THAT is real love. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

It's Fixed

The home loan I mean. It's by no means my dream loan, but I feel amazingly good about it. For those of you considering buying a house I can't believe the difference now from 5 years ago. Back then they were THROWING money at me. This time there were so many variables between our income, and home value it wasn't working out. But it did.

Yesterday I was able to take one of my old Young Women to the temple. It's an exceedingly long story as to why her mom didn't escort her, but I will always treasure the experience. While at the temple, besides helping her-- I was really seeking for God to tell me what to do with the mortgage thing. And of course, like with all things -- I was hoping he'd provide fireworks and sky-writing. Instead I had the sweet feeling that things would work out, and soon. I came home (thanks to Miranda for watching my kids while I went, and even an extra 1/2 hour and DROPPING THEM OFF -- dang I'm lucky to have such good friends!) and looked at my giant loan spreadsheet (can we say loser), was listening to my messages -- all of which seemed particularly bad news. So as I scanned it, I felt prompted to call the company our current loan is with (I already had, but I just hadn't taken it too seriously)... I did, and what they offered felt so right. Even though it's not what I had envisioned, God knew it was right for us. I'm so grateful for that.

I am also grateful to have it done -- I am fairly sure I can get on with my life now. :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Like the Corner of my mind... {what mind}

Ok, my SIL posted this on her blog and I thought it might increase the overal mess that my day has been:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty funny to see the responses.

++If you post one on mine, I'll post one on yours++

Highlights in a low day

Today has been a pretty sad day. There have been two highlights.
1. Met our new Pediatrician. Dr. Gruver. I told her immediately that I am very picky about my pediatricians since I'm a nurse and I used to work for one. She loved that. And I loved her. Really. She's a great age (our other pediatricians were moms, and were frequently taking long vacations -- and while I totally "get" that -- since I do that, I don't love it since I then get to see a doctor I can't understand), she's totally cool with my kids being underweight. It's all pretty dang rockin'.
2. CVS bought Longs Drugs. And there are several longs drugs within earshot of this blog. Yay for me -- the deal mecca will be coming to a store near me.
I don't want to talk about my children's behavior today, or mortgages. And that's that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baby Chloe

Hey guys, in case you're interested, new photos on my photography blog.

Thoughts Rambling through my head this Monday

Ah, so many things wizzing through my head... seriously, it's like those bike shows in the circus where all the guys are riding their bikes in that sphere.... :)
1. Mortgage. People, I think I may well be a sucker. However, my two confidants on the whole mortgage thing (my dad and my husband) have held me back. I'm so torn when I talk to someone -- I feel like I just want to buy it from them, and right THEN. I almost locked on Friday but I didn't. In the whole scope of things there's not a huge rush (our other mortgage isn't up til' Feb.). My mortgage guy (who is big into the hard sell) said, "I can almost guarantee that rates will be higher on Monday). Shock of all shocks they're down.
2. Olympics. Hello -- love these. Love the relay, love the diving -- really -- it's all so exciting. I'm not sure my DVR can take all the excitement. :) I think it's most exciting to see our country rally behind ANYTHING. I feel like we're so divided so much of the time, it's exciting to see us back something.
3. Time to kick it up a notch. Drew's back to school, time for me to kick this family's backside and get things going again. I'm in charge of FHE tonight and I think I'm gonna do something around building our Zion. I'm also teaching that same lesson on Sunday -- but it's pure coincidence. :) Seems like we're tearing down Zion a lot as of late {screaming heard in other room}.,
4. Dentist trip today. Spencer's not so fond of sitting in the chair on his own. Will he be a big boy this time? Who knows....
5. Less computer. Now, I can blame last week's issues on the mortgage guys, since I was at the computer comparing rates all the time. But I'm done with that. I'll keep my finger on them -- but the hours and HOURS of looking are over. Time to read a good book (btw, I have Breaking Dawn, but I'm waiting to read it until my life is in a little more order).
6. Hello fatty. I haven't really gained weight lately, but it's time to get back on the weight loss train. That's SO much easier when you have a schedule and a normal life. I haven't worked out a lot lately and I've noticed my tailbone's been hurting and I'm more tired.
Go team.
Go team.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Here's my keywords that people have found my blog through as of late. weeeeeeiiirrrrddddd...
  • http://www.goodread.com/
  • pulling curls
  • fabric.com financials
  • chocolate chip yellow squash bread
  • sick pulling
  • diem nurse can call in sick?
  • pologomist lives
  • july 4th coulter bay campground bear attack 2008 yellowstone facts 2008
  • yellowstone facts
  • http://www.goodread.com./
  • drew's drawers
  • miss america organization mormon
  • what size should my yellow squash be when i pick it
  • steam crooked neck squash flavor
  • ox in the meyer
  • how to fix yellow squash
  • hillyut blogspot
  • mr wells fargo
  • yellowstone factz
  • hilary beck
  • how many carbs does crooked neck squash have
  • can you eat the seeds from yellow crooked neck squash

Interesting that I'm the Yellow squash queen... :)

My pretty little pie chart

Now, I can't get my pie chart to convert into a jpeg -- but this morning as I was balancing my checkbook (and yes, I do get up early every Saturday AM to balance my checkbook in peace before the fam kills me) I got to see a pie chart of all of our expenses... it was definately an eye-opener. I'm gonna give you the percents we spend on our top 10 items (for this year to date):
  1. Mortgage (shocking) 43.81% (gasp all you want -- but it's just part of living here)
  2. Tithing 10.81% (we pay 10% of our increase to the church, but this also includes money we give the church for humanitarian efforts, etc)
  3. Drew 9.08% (trombone -- yes the trombone has taken almost as much money as tithing this year)
  4. Household expenses 6.48% (this is basically the costco trips plus house repairs/etc. -- I must admit this is a bit of a dump category)
  5. Auto 5.82% (gas, insurance etc. -- somehow this doesn't include our car payment -- or it'd be bigger)
  6. Utilities 4.40% (doesn't include cell phone bills -- but it is cable, heat, water -- etc.)
  7. Groceries 3.51% (O.M.G -- this was a HUGE shocker to me)
  8. Trip 3.28% (again, just a little less than my grocery cost -- and this year had a LOT of trips -- and was very fun)
  9. Going Out 1.8% (my vice -- love the food this area has to offer)
  10. Clothing 1.24% (did anyone see my cute new 10$ jacket from Kohls).

Anyway -- this was a big eye opener. I'm not sure how exact it all is -- but I think it's pretty close. I think it's something you all should take a gander at -- I hadn't really ever taken a look at the pretty pie chart Quicken has to offer.

Doula THAT

My friend Janna had me come to her delivery (actually, she postponed the delivery until I came back from my VERY long trip). I was so lucky to be there when Ms. Chloe was born. She's very adorable. Feel free to check her out on my photography blog.

My tips for photographing at your delivery:

  • Don't use your flash. While this is almost impossible -- you will need to use a VERY high ISO -- as high as your camera will go. You can later take the grain out using noiseware (I still use the communit edition -- although I'd LOVE the plug-in version!).
  • Don't be afraid to jump in. I don't mind people taking pictures at all -- but I will move you if you're in my way, or if things aren't going well and I want you to stop. Don't be hurt when the nurse says stuff like this. We're just mean. :)
  • Use your white balance. The lighting in hospital rooms are AWFUL. You will want to fix the light balance so that things don't look as yellow.
  • Get pictures of the people who are there. While they aren't visually stunning, it's always a memory to see your doctor and your nurse -- remember how they helped you out. I HATE getting my picture taken, but I digress... most of the time. :)
That's all I can think of right now. So glad Ms. Chloe is here!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Please wait...

Well, perhaps the blog was on hold for another reason. Yesterday was my triumphant return to stay at home motherhood. Not to say that I'm not working anymore -- but I'm just not working as MUCH (and on a sadder note, marching band has officially started -- just 18 minutes ago).
BUT, I did do a bunch of photo editing yesterday. I just posted the first one on my blog --my cousin's wedding. Check how adorable and skinny she is.
Ahh... reminds me of my younger days.
Very sweet of her to allow me to take pictures though, since weddings aren't my thing....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Monday, August 04, 2008

Deal Central

Well, my work cancelled me -- so I decided to work some magic at Walgreens.
I just got back. Here's what I bought:
3 Rice Krispie Treats
2 Pop tarts
2 Rasin Bran Crunches (it was marked with a red RR tag in my store)
2 Pops Cereal
Total: 16 dollars (after 4 coupons from yesterday's paper -- RK treats, pop tarts, and 2 for the cereals).
1 5$ Register Reward prints (should have been 2)

HOWEVER, I had talked to the manger before I got rung-up and she told me that if it didn't work she'd give me a 5$ gift card, which she did.

And now I need to cut-out my UPC's for the Kellogs Rebate (which Kellogs announced today would start retro-active on the 2nd, even though in the paper yesterday it said the 5th).

I did a second transaction where I did:
Pencil Sharpener (49 cents)
Notecards (19 cents each -- bought 2)
Paper clips (19 cents)
Pink Erasers (9 cents)
10 pack of papermate pens (9 cents)
2 packs of highlighters (9 cents each -- bought 2)
9 posterboard (9 cents -- I offered to split that and have my son buy the other 4, but they said 8 was fine)
1 pencil box (49 cents)
filler paper (39 cents)
Grand total for all that was 6.51
used my other 5 register reward and I only paid 1.51

So -- as a recap, I spent 17.51
I have a 5 dollar Walgreens gift card
I have a 10 dollar mail in rebate (Make SURE if you do this, you get them on the same recipt)Plus, I forgot to use a prior 3 dollar RR --- note to self, don't take kids to store.
Sub-total: 2.51 for all that.
Go me.
***Crap, upon further analysis -- you need 10 items of Kellogs on your receipt -- I only have 9. AGAIN don't shop with kids when you are trying to do deals like this. Still, it's a swanky deal {sigh} *****

The Mortgage Game

Now, I'm jumping into the waist-deep muck that is refinancing our home. But, I need to hear your stories. Some questions for my wise readers:
  • Did you pay points up front?
  • Who'd you go with, and why?
  • Did you go straight to a bank, did you do it online, or did you deal with a broker?
  • Do you feel like you got a good deal?
Really, it's all quite painful. I should totally be editing photos instead of calling 10 banks this AM. Of course, then there's the gamble of what rates are gonna do.
Feel the joy.
Really, go ahead -- FEEL that joy. :)
Some things I have learned. Our mortgage is still considered jumbo for some mortgage houses -- interesting since those limits have been raised for a few months.
Rates vary quite a bit.
Everyone wants my business.
I just feel so darn popular now. However, my children after me being on the phone that long are not particularly fond of me.
Hence, this short blog entry.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Insight into Spencer

Today I taught sharing time in primary -- it was on baptism and as a mother of a recently baptized child, I guess I was the perfect choice.
Regardless I got to see into Spencer's little world. I'm excited to go to preschool next year and see how he reacts in a class full of kids his age -- and this was a peek into that world.
Anyway -- the kid answers all that questions. I think it's so amusing for them to be scanning the room looking for someone who knows the answer, all of Jr. Primary (where kids ages 3-7 go in our church during the last 2 hours) -- and when no one does (including kids double his age) they'll say, "Spencer, do you know?"
Amusing but true.
BUT I did come away with a gem of a story.
I guess the missionaries came in for sharing time last week. They'd been learning all month about sharing the gospel with our friends. They gave a heartfelt lesson about the gospel and how we can be good examples, etc. Then they said, "Do you guys have any questions." (super dumb to ask of a room of little kids, but I digress....)
Spencer raised his hand and was called on.

"How do you vote?"

Yeah, this is what I'm saying peeps (reminder, my parents had been here last week, and we'd been in Utah around all of my very political family) -- religion and politics. There one and the same in my house.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Where does time go?

Ok, now that baptism festivities are done it's time to buckle down. I have lots of things on my plate (and working a lot more isn't helping me -- I'm off today and I'm feeling pretty darn happy about that).
  • I need to get a new mortgage. There, I said it. It's a big worry of mine. We have to re-fi by next Feb. Have any of you re-fi'd lately? We have what used to be a jumbo loan, and it's all very insane what all I have to think about when we do this. It's gonna be big fun.
  • One of my old YW is getting married and I need help her out more with the wedding. Big story in the backscenes -- but I haven't been there for her like I should.
  • I need to throw our carbon monoxide monitor into a large rock. Seriously -- this is #2 that has had a problem where the battery connections aren't so great so it beeps all the time. This time it was like 2 am -- and while it worked itself into my dream somehow, I finally did have to wake up and throw it into the garage (where it is still beeping as I type).
  • I have to switch our toys. Call me crazy (feel free) -- although, Drew is home (mischievious hand wrangling).
  • I need to go to 2 grocery stores. One of them is having a big 50% off sale and I wish they would've listed their regular prices there, so I could decide if it truly was a good deal.

And that is all -- I think. At least for now. Of course, there are plenty of other items to worry about on my backburner... Conner learning his times tables, Drew thinking about graduate school -- you know, the usual. :)

OH, and let's not forget what has happened to my scale. It's obviously not working well lately. Of course, having the parents here and all that jazz might not have helped either. I'm gonna get on that bandwagon BIG time now!

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