Tuesday, September 6

Blonde Brothers


That is what Andy thought about naming his band. Music Maniacs is the other option. Aaron didn't like either one. It didn't help when I said they were both "cute." Who knew that after 3 weeks of guitar lessons, we'd be naming a band? Love that ambition. :)

Tuesday, August 2

Back and Ahead

July came and went with a blur. We slowed down one week to enjoy a nice relaxing vacation at Sunset Beach. Man we love that place. The weather was great, the waves were great (from the reclined position of my chair) and the company was great. We even had a vacation visitor that we all love. Thanks Miss Stacie for hanging with us. I like our beach chats.

I finally broke down and started using Google calendar. Life changing. Love love love it. I love the reminders, I love the color coding. I love how nothing has to be scratched out and it all lines up beautifully. As Martha would say, "it's a good thing." Having it on my new phone is an even better thing. We ordered Five Guys on Saturday just because "I have an app for that!"

The kids have had a million things on the calendar this summer too. Swim, drums, music, sewing, appointments, and always a bazillion extra kids at the house have made it go by even faster.  But now it is August...the month of many changes. I am sooooo looking forward to the Disney trip (that'll get its own post soon) in a couple weeks but I am sooooo not looking forward to going back to school the following week. It'll be ok once we get back into the groove but man I love summer. I love the late nights. I love the grilling. I love the sun shining at 8pm. I just love the sun. School means that fall and those 6pm sunsets are around the corner. Blah. Is it too early to countdown to summer 2012?

Tuesday, July 26

Forever Reign

My current favorite and daily prayer. Listen and worship.
And for any Baptists that might be reading this, it is even ok to lift your hands on this one.
I won't tell. ;)

Sunday, July 17

Quotes of the Day & Other Smiling Times

Andy- (when we drove onto the island) "Yes! This is where all the good stuff happens."

Aaron- "I have sand in all my nooks and crannies."

Maci helped Aaron pick out some Axe spray deodorant at Walgreens. They were smelling ALL of them. Contemplating. Aaron was really listening to Maci's opinions and Maci was really trying to help Aaron make a good choice on his deodorant scent. When did they get so grown up?

Later I taught the kids how to play Balderdash. We laughed so hard we probably disturbed the neighbors. They are really good at it. Andy wanted to learn too. He is still a little young to get the whole concept which made things even more entertaining. I could tell you all the stories but they really are those "had to be there kind."  I'll just note this one so we'll always remember it...When it was Andy's turn to be the reader, he wrote down the correct definition and then mixed it in with our fake ones.  He read all the "fake definitions" and then prefaced the last one with, "Now. Here's mine." Bless him.  :)

Wednesday, July 13

Remember Me?

I really don't have much to say. Yet I feel I should post. I feel I should just stand up and wave, "I'm still here." I know things have gotten crazy the last couple weeks. I'm working. Working. Working. But you know how people talk about when you are doing what you love, it doesn't seem like work. They are spot on. I haven't minded getting up early or staying up late. I thought I knew so much about Disney only to discover how much I have yet to learn. I thought I was confident in my writing skills only to be given an opportunity that makes me doubt. Yes. It has been a crazy couple of week. But in a good way. And I'm still here. I'm starting to find the groove. I really didn't have to stay up this late tonight. Except I had 2 All My Childrens, 2 One Life to Lives, and 1 Bachelorette to catch up on. I couldn't even start them until all the boys were in bed. Funny how those boys don't like watching any of those shows with me. Maci does though. We watched together. The soap opera legacy lives on...at least until September. Sigh. Yes, I heard the news about the internet...but do you really think Susan Lucci is going to settle for an internet soap? Not likely.

So. As I said, not much to say except that I'm still here. Keep the tea coming...

Friday, May 27

Work Ahead


I've been told I create work.  I've even been compared to Lucy Ricardo! Like I just sit around and think of things to do? Well. That isn't exactly how it happens...

Last Saturday I came upstairs to take a shower. We'd been to the gym,  Lowes, and then in the yard -- I needed that shower badly (way way badly) but something in Aaron's room caught my eye.  One thing led to another which ended with me cleaning out 2 closets and then deciding the boys needed to swap bedrooms. Right then. That minute- before my much needed shower.  Yes, I do think I may have a touch of ADD and possibly OCD but the combination allows us to get some great things done at the house.

Anyway, we've never liked the color of the blue bedroom. After painting the gameroom (sunroom) it was the only pastel room in the house and Brad and I both detest pastels. Detest. Blech. Baby colors are for babies type detest. But we've lived with the blue for 16 months because a) we don't really like to paint and b) no one was ever in that room. We *called* it Aaron's room but he never actually spent time in there. He hung out in the playroom. He slept in the playroom. The blue room was basically just the drum room attached to the closet where he kept his clothes. (We couldn't let him use the closet in the playroom or else the other kids might figure out that he really had a sweet deal with two bedrooms.)

Andy originally got the big red and blue (bright- not pastel) room because of the really nice super hero fatheads that were already on the walls. It looks great and it was easy. It is also at the far end of the hall so we didn't often notice how crazy messy it can become.  Last Saturday, I noticed.  After spending way too much time trying to find the bottom on Andy's closet, I realized this child had much more space than he needed or could properly care for.

Time to move Grandpa Aaron into that space. Grandpa Aaron will keep it clean AND appreciate the space. Within a couple hours Andy was in the blue room (the pastel one- blech) and Aaron moved to the "men in tights room."  Happy Go Lucky Aaron let us know the men in tights were really cramping his style and he'd like some assistance in the matter.  That meant we'd need to move them to Andy's new room. AKA the blechy blue room. Are you following me here? Moving the men means first biting the bullet and painting  the room.  Goodbye baby blue- hello Bright Red and Some-funkycolor-name Yellow. :) And That is the work ahead. See now. Makes perfect sense. I didn't just *create* work. It just finds me.

I'd post before pictures but I haven't seen my camera since Aaron's drum concert at Stumptown Park... another blog for another day...so I trust you are imagining the before pictures and I'll try to find that camera soon to take the after pictures.

PS- Yes. I did eventually get that shower.

Saturday, April 2

Thank God for Uniforms

No, I never thought I would utter those words. But I did literally just thank God for uniforms. At least I know what Maci wears to school everyday- or at least in some variation. We just went through a 20 minute ordeal having her change clothes tonight before she left for SNS. (The Saturday night get together for middle schoolers at the Y)  The denim skirt (whose is that anyway?!) and converse didn't work for me or her dad.  She left in jeans.

After going through her closet and offering several suggestions I was told that her style is vintage. My style is prissy (or so I was told) and our styles just clash. That we can agree on.

It was like one of those scenes from the movies where I am picturing her as a 4 year old wishing I could still put her in those adorable red check seersucker dresses with the lady bugs on the bottom. No, I didn't say that outloud to her. I told her I appreciate her artistic abilities and style and I also like vintage.  We need to go shopping together to find an artistic vintage look that fits her style but doesn't make her look homeless. She told me we will be going to Forever 21. I guess Dillards would be out of the question.

Thursday, March 31

Coming Soon

I know. I know. My promised pieces sometimes take months to appear- like the Christmas pics in February. But I am planning on the following blogs.

*Surviving the wisdom teeth- with little dignity.
*Mamakuh 2011. Best one yet I do believe.
*Brad's garden additions
*My new hair cutting career (can you call it a career when you only have 3 clients and no one pays you?)
*Countdown to all the important things...last day of school, beach trip that has yet to be scheduled, and Disney trip 2011 that has be scheduled
*A new installment (or 3) of "Corners"

There. It's in print. Now it has to happen. Eventually.

Friday, February 18

Learning to be a Pineapple

Five years ago we drove away in the Durango.We left our hometown, fully aware that we were leaving behind everything and everyone we knew and loved. Excitement was mixed with apprehension.  Yet we knew - KNEW- this was our journey. We knew we were being led to Charlotte, NC for a reason.

I looked for that reason almost daily the next couple of years. I expected God to open the sky and show me the plan- the reason. Time went on and I kept asking...what are we supposed to do in Charlotte? What impact are we supposed to have? I guess I expected it to be one big thing or one big event.

The last few months I've heard God answering me. But His answer is different than my expectations. We are here for a reason. But the reason is much more complex and yet much simpler than I ever imagined. We are here to live. We are here to love. We are here to grow- both as a couple and as children of God. We are here to raise our kids. We are here to care for others and be cared for by others. We are here to be pineapples. Yes, pineapples.

Our last Wednesday night in Oklahoma, Pastor Greg was preaching at COTM. He spoke about when he and his wife made the move to Tulsa. They left behind their friends and family as well. They had to. God wanted them to be pineapples and pineapples didn't grow where they were from. Sometimes God moves us to grow us. He moves us to give us the environment we need to become the person He knows we can be.

But even after 5 years, I'm a long way from being that pineapple. Right now I'm probably more like the generic brand of pineapple chunks.  God has a lot work left to do in me. I know I mess up. I've messed up this week. I let my humanity seep out more than I let Jesus seep out.

But now I know. I know the reason. I know we are home. We'll happily continue living, loving, growing, raising, and caring. I'll keep striving to be that pineapple.

Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city...

Wednesday, February 9

Oopsie

Is it bad to still be posting Christmas pictures the week of Valentines Day? I hate it when I am scrolling and see that I said I was going to post this or that and then totally forgot about it! My mind...I'm concerned. That's all I'm saying...I'm concerned.
The colors are sooo much brighter and poppier in person. Yes. I said poppier. 

The elves got rowdy by New Year...
Traditional Christmas Eve Jammies opening 
Christmas snow.

Tuesday, February 8

True Story

Don't laugh at my 7 years sign. I so wish the whole monthly sign pictures had been invented when my kids were babies. I'm going to pretend that we've done this all along...

Anyway, 7 years ago-- four year old Aaron informed me "Baby Andrew is going to be born today." I was hopeful so we skipped church to go walk the mall.  We walked and and walked. No Baby Andrew. We ate at Sonic. No Baby Andrew. We took an afternoon nap. No Baby Andrew. Finally I told Aaron that I didn't think he was going to be born that day- it was already almost 4pm.  Aaron suggested that maybe Andrew forgot...he proceeded to climb up on the bed and lean over me to remind him. "Baby Andrew- today is your day to be born." He kissed me and hopped down. Such confidence. Feeling no contractions at all, I sent Aaron and Brad on to Awanas. (Maci was still napping) They had been gone about 15 minutes when I heard and felt that familiar POP. My water broke. Baby Andrew was going to be born that day after all!

Aaron's teacher was also pregnant. When he returned to school she asked when her baby was going to be born. Aaron looked at her very serious and said, "I don't know. I only knew about Baby Andrew."

True Story.

Happy Birthday Andy Bear.

Monday, January 31

Keys to Couponing


#1 KNOW your prices- There are many ways to do a price book. You can keep it simple or really detailed. I'm still working on the best format for me but here is a great explanation of the price book AND a template to get you started from Centsablemomma.  

#2- STOCK UP when the prices are at their rock bottom low. This means you need to get familiar with sale cyles. (hence the importance of the price book)  I have learned to buy LOTS and LOTS canned veggies in November when they drop to 50cents (or less) per can. NEVER buy them when they are over 75 cents. I'm in the process here but what I have started to do is jot down when the big sales hit (like buy 1 get 1 on roast at HT) so I know how many to purchase in order to fill my need until the next sale.


#3- Know what you can get for FREE. You should rarely to never pay money for toothpaste or dental floss. If you aren't picky about brands you should also be able to get dishwashing soap, hand soap, and deodorant for free. There are some things I am a brand snob about (Charmin toilet paper for one!) I will probably never find Charmin for free but I can keep track and make sure I only buy it when it is priced at the bottom of the cycle. 

#4- Stock up but don't overstock. I am fully aware that many die hards would disagree here (have you ever watched Extreme Couponing on TLC?) but I don't think anyone needs 500 toothbrushes. I don't care if they are free! The stockpile should be enough to keep you supplied until the next sale cycle not until the next millennium

#5- Treat it like a game. Maybe this is where I cross the line but there is a high that comes with walking out of the store with free (or incredibly cheap) products. What other high is legal, good for your finances, and doesn't harm your health in any way? Make it a game and celebrate your success by splurging in another area.
Some people save for the sake of saving. For me, I like to save money on the necessities so that we can have splurges in other areas. We love vacations. We love the beach. We love Disney. The coupon game makes those splurges even sweeter. 

That's about as much knowledge as I have on the subject. I'm not one of the gurus out there but I think I know enough to be a decent gamer. What about you? Have any other tips to share?

Sunday, January 30

Bargain Update

I've recently renewed my couponing commitment.  It was sorta like starting over because I had forgotten so many tricks. As I get back into it I am weeding out my sources. I have found that a good site basically has contributions from other good sites so you don't have to visit them all. Per Ashley's request- here is my updated hit list:

Deal Seeking Mom- This is an all time favorite. Mom has a little bit of everything. She is on top of it. The only con is the amount of posts. I suggest that you subscribe to her daily newsletter. This allows you to scan all her daily posts in your inbox. You don't miss anything AND you don't waste any time. 

Coupon Teacher- Teacher does super matchups.  I love that about her site! She covers both CVS and Walgreens as well as Harris Teeter. The only con is she doesn't cover Lowes Foods. In addition to the match ups she also posts coupon finds, freebies, and basic points of interest in the coupon world.***update--Coupon Teacher DOES cover Lowes Foods!***

I Heart the Mart- This guy has WalMart covered top to bottom.  I snagged some fabulous deals on tissue paper, gift boxes, and other random Christmas stock from his tips.  He has a great $1 section too. No cons with this site.

Totally Target- Just as the title suggests, this couponer keeps us up to date on all things Target.  She covers other deals to an extent but it pretty much is all about Target. Thanks to her tips I have enough mac and cheese for the next 4 months. Some of it I paid a minimal amount for and some of it was FREE. 

There are many many many other sites out there but these have become my main sources of info. I've also started a price list so that I can keep track of rock bottom prices. It's amazing how HT will advertise a "hot deal" that isn't as cheap as WalMarts daily price. 

I'll give you some time to visit these sites and post my key couponing concepts tomorrow. 


Saturday, January 29

Thanks Lisa!

While I would love to take credit for this find...it wasn't my find. Several days ago Lisa (whom I usually just call Crosby) sent me this link. It is an easy peasy set up. Weekly menus are available  for an entire year- complete in a downloadable form WITH a shopping list that is divided by produce, meat, etc. etc. If only she had coupon match ups...

I know what you are thinking....and yes they do look like good recipes. They are simple and *normal type* foods. My love affair started when I read her post about Ro-Tel. Any chick that loves rotel is a friend of mine. The deal was sealed when I saw her recipe for 50s Prime Time meatloaf. Yep. THAT 50s Prime Time diner. Rotel and Disney- the way to my heart. 

Head on over for a  visit. Tiffany will have you cooking up something good every night this week!

Tuesday, January 11

Before / After

 I'll have to go back and see if I can find true "before" pictures. The mantel was brown when we moved in. We didn't waste any time painting that but it took awhile to figure out how we wanted to replace the tile/rock.

 

This wasn't an "easy" job. Removing the tile was tedious and difficult. However, it seemed easy as Brad moved on to getting the rock off the top. But ya'll know Brad- he gets it done! He gets it done right. 

 And here is the "after." We love love love it. I wish you could see the texture and variance of the stones in the picture. Some are marble. Some are black glass. Some are sea glass. The photos don't do it justice. (yes, I'm going to have to paint those tall candles...we're thinking of a crackled gold--but we can't get to Walmart today because of this ICE storm!!!)

A before close up...
and finally...a fireplace we love to go with a house we love!