Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Giving an unexpected, and well deserved treat to a friend-priceless. To think, it all started w/ meeting at a playgroup 4 years ago.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Life with 5

Tonight was an awesome night-all 3 kids went down, and all before 9:30pm. This may seem crazy late to some, but considering the youngest was up the latest, this is a good night :)
Now that I'm beyond the computer issue, I had the chance to watch one of my favorite tivo'd shows, Jon and Kate Pus Eight. I've watched the show, and can relate on so many levels, especially the being outnumbered by kids. At first it was all about survival and how was I going to get by, but as E is getting a little bit older, the fog has definitely begun to rise. I may complain about how hard it is to do stuff, but I think in the end, I love how chaotic our life is, how nothing is exactly perfect-its so us. There was something on the show about taking 2 hours to get changed/dealing w/ wet clothes, and in the back of my mind I thought-hmmm reminds me of this past weekend when I took the boys to the water park by myself. It was so hard on one level, but man, it felt really good knowing that I didn't stay inside just because I was alone. I know I was frustrated at times because I was outnumbered, but it was so fun to watch all of them laughing-and enjoying each other. The older boys asked me several times to go on the amusment rides, but I've begun to understand that my reluctance to go/do certain things, isn't about how many of us there are, but how pointless it is to spend money on things. I sincerely hope that continues. As it is, I think I have hubby trained on bringing basic drinks/snacks with us (knowing that if we run out, we can always buy more), because no matter how much money we have on us or in our accounts, we both cringe at the price for a drink at the park.
This episode also reaffirmed for me that when we're figuring out how we're going to go somewhere or do an activity, its not the having 3 children that we think about, its the fact that we have young children that we think about. This evening, my sister called to talk about the plans her and her boyfriend are making-wedding ideas to be specific. Now while this may cause financial concern among many, while we don't have an abundance of savings in our account, I know that when given the time to save, it wouldn't be a financial drain for us to go.
This episode also reminds me of how I want to take the 3 boys to Legoland or one of the smaller theme parks. I can't wait to go on rides, doing the photos, all the stuff that comes with traveling w/ kids. I know it won't be easy, but really, what is easy at this point? As long as I'm relaxed, that's all that matters. And watching a local mom with 4 kids under the age of 5 keep her cool, I know that's totally doable.

a ticking time bomb

so i thought i had this computer thing figured out. guess i was wrong. turns out this computer and the xp software is so old, hp wants me to pay $59 for tech support to get rid of everything and reinstall it to its pristine condition. meanwhile, my brother found us a brand new laptop for $300, and he can install current xp software for us. guess what i say about this computer? good riddance! i swear, i never thought i'd be ready to see it go, but this is beyond ridiculous. i seriously love technology (thanks to snap photo and all my social blogging websites) but this type of headache is why i sometimes think life was easier w/o it around. grrrrrr. i need a drink once the kids go to bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

i hate computers

viruses suck. this is just one more reason to take money and buy an external hard drive. nuff said.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

weekend update

The weekends seem longer when hubby works, and it seems when that happens, I'm more apt to spend money-whether its from mommy guilt, boredom, or just something fun that we want to do-money gets spent. Today was no different, but I tried to keep it in perspective-its a long long day when hubby works Sat, and there's only so much indoor hosue time I can handle w/ 3 young kids.
We started our day early-a family who's moving (sadly, because of a divorce) was having a yard sale, and I stopped by to see if there was anything worth buying. I picked up 3 Thomas the Train videos-the mom commented on how M would love them-that gave me a slight pang, since I know her son and M were friends at preschool. I also found a cute Gymboree sweater for E-I never buy him clothes-never-I have 2 older boys, but I really want to get him something for his 1 year pics (which really isn't that far off). Those items, combined w/ a large ziploc bag of construction people and equipment for the boys to share, set me back $4. I hit two other yard sales, the boys were quiet in the car, and didn't mind sitting since I knew what I was looking for-larger clothes for M, older child toys, a bike for M, and/or books for me. I found nothing, but still enjoyed looking.
Going to the first yard sale, seeing the for sale sign in the yard, it was harder than I thought to look-maybe because I knew the family? I almost turned away, but since they have boys older than ours, I thought they may have something that would appeal to me, and I thought I could turn aside my emotions, if just for a yard sale. Despite finding some good deals, the only feeling I came away w/ was sadness-sadness for the child who was friends w/ M-his parents have been separated since he was 2-switching back homes and toys, and everything that comes with it is all he's known. It's harder for the older son, who's now 6, he remembers what it was like having everyone under one roof. Seeing the maternity, travel, household items, that just reminds me that once this fractured couple was a family-evn if for a short time. Sigh-it just makes me hope that Dh and I will always work out our problems-I'd hate to go through everything this family has gone through. Sigh....
Onto happier events, I packed a lunch and took the boys to a water area at a park. It was empty when we arrived, and the boys had a fun time splashing around. I took their lead, and packed up when they both seemed ready and willing to go (that never happens!) We came home, and are enjoying a relatively quiet nap time. We're spending the afternoon at another mom's home, the boys will get another chance to splash around, and I'll enjoy some adult conversation. Before I know it, 4:30 will come around, and hubby will be home. I only hope I have the resolve to say lets eat at home. We shall see.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

i confess

i gave in. while hubby took the boys to a movie over the weekend, i bought myself the cricut cutter i've been ogling for months and months. its not the advanced one, but i did get the lowest price out there-and didn't have to pay/wait for it to get shipped-the walmart had the one i wanted in stock. now i feel incredibly guilty about it-there's every reason why i should return it, and every reason that i should keep it. hubby buys his fun stuff for work (yeah, its for work, but when he wants it, he wants it, end of story). he also gives in when he has a yen for eating lunch out-me, i choose to eat leftovers at home most days. i want this. call it the crack for the scrapbooker in me. sigh. i'm sitting on the receipt right now, in case i change my mind. oh i wonder, how it would feel to keep it while the saner part of me that says to return it. sigh.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

money is not a cure all

after writing the post from a few days ago, you would have thought i had a firm grasp on what is really important. well, i'm here to say that while that is true, i'm still human and apt to make mistakes. hindsight is 20/20, and tomorrow is a new day, so i won't beat myself up too much.
the day was long, started off bad at the car dealership (cruddy customer service for the 2nd day in a row). it gives new meaning to how easy women are taken for a ride when dealing w/ repairmen. ugh. next time, i'll do my research beforehand, instead of letting the dealership go forward w/ an unneeded adjustment.

talk about switching preschools has come up again-for one too many reasons. the parents of the children m and g play with are leaving the center. to put it bluntly, the center had a mishap (not a life threatening one, but one that involved licensing) and the way they handled it w/ parents that they had once had really good communication with, well, it left a sour taste w/ many parents (myself included). talking w/ the director yesterday, i voiced my concerns (always my childrens best advocate), and while i kept thinking this is good practice for one day when i want to be pta mom, i still felt like there's going to be a major fallout. will it affect my kids? to some degree-but at the same time, my hands are tied.

as i've said once before, i'm looking for part time work. looking for work, i have known i'd have to place e somewhere safe, and i knew that the boys preschool would work w/ us to provide a safe setting at an affordable rate (and being 3 kids, not adding up to a mortgage payment is ideal!) the idea has come up for the boys to switch to where their friends are going-but for one reason or another (too far for us-(its closer to where other parents work vs where we all reside), the religious affiliation, or it just being a temp place for a year before the older kids enter kindergarten and everyone switchs again to another place closer to home, i'm just not sold on the idea. so right now i'm the lone one of a group of parents (who've been together since our kids days in the infant room years ago when us parents were working/in grad school) still planning on working w/ our current preschool. hubby has fully supported me, and told me if i could give him one good reason for the boys not to be where they're at, we'd take them out. yet, i can't-the reasons are all based on what others are doing, not necessarily because something isn't right for our kids. sigh...being a responsible parent is tough stuff.

to close tonight, we went to the farmer's market. spent too much money on bounce houses, lemonade, and yummy sandwiches. poor hubby was trying to win me over through my stomach, but it just made it full-didn't face the issues head on. tomorrow is a new day, so we'll work on that stuff tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

the cost of friendship

Lately I've been on a mission to revamp a moms group that I joined when my eldest child was a few months old. As a new mom of one, money seemed endless, and I had no clue what to do with those long days while my husband was at work. Thankfully, I was never a big spender-I always loved bargain hunting, but was just as happy to browse as I was to buy. Eventually I connected w/ various mom's groups and that was a great source of emotional support. I found myself choosing group activities over shopping, or other isolating activities. As a result, how I spent our money and my time changed. I became more interested in inexpensive or free activities, not necessarily shunning a playdate at the mall (which typically included lunch at the food court) but also relished the mornings a a local park (the most expensive expense being a cup of coffee to get me going).
In recent months i've noticed another shift within this chapter of my life. My interest in inexpensive activities had grown, and the people who I associate with hold values close to my own. That's not to say I don't enjoy a discussion over which children's clothes are a better value, but I also appreciate those conversations which revolve around how to balance treating myself while factoring the higher costs of necessities. Sounds so simplistic-but at the same time-me and some moms also talk about more challenging things-like the struggle to reenter the workforce, issues surrounding saving for retirement (or college for those who want to return to school). I hate sounding like Ms Suzy Homemaker, when really I'm nowhere near that level of domesticity. I just try to live a balanced life.
Anyways, I digress from my post. Today I went to a free water park (just paid for admission to pay at the site), and the kids had a field day. The moms had a potluck lunch, and we sat under the shade trees with our strollers and towels while the kids were soaked. What I spent ($3 to enter the park) was nothing compared to what I got out of it-I related to moms with multiple children, those who are done having children, those who are on the fence about adding to their brood.
I also saw a face from when I was a mom of one-and she was the mom of two. She looked all put together at the time four years ago when I first met her-now we both looked frazzled from the heat, beat from taking care of children, making sure no one wandered off. Back then, I wondered how she did it-and now I'm doing the same she is-doing it as best we know how.
As much as I worry about how we'll ride out the months ahead-the mold expense in insane beyond belief, and I wonder how our bank account will look once its done, this time today has shown me there's more to life than what money we have to spend. Its about the friendships we have, the memories we make, and the total sum of sticky kisses and water soaked hugs.

Monday, July 14, 2008

odds and ends

today was a bummer of a day. spent the whole day home with a pukey kid, so instead of braving it outside, we were inside with the a/c running all day long. ugh. i did have the opportunity to surf a few blogs during extended nap times.
here's an interesting dish to try for dinner one night, courtesy of Blissfully Domestic:
i also listed some stuff on craigslist, and found more stuff to list after bed tonight.
there was other stuff i was thinking about today, but now i'm drawing a blank. i'll come back when i think of it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

fun on a shoestring budget

who says you need to have an endless supply of money to have a good time doesn't know what its like to be creative.
we hit up the circus as a family a couple of nights ago, and saved 50% of the ticket price since we had an entertainment coupon ($30 instead of $60). dinner at mcdonalds-a local special had hamburger happy meals for $1.29; we each had one, dinner was under $5. parking was $7. brought snacks and drinks in the diaper bag, avoided all the crap toys and marketing, and had a really nice time out. total cost $42!
tonight, i went to a local mom's group event, met lots of new moms, out of my comfort zone, spent $5 on the buy-in for the game. hubby brought me there, a new friend brought me home, saved on gas that way. the boys all ate at home (skipped the church carnival they had intended to visit), and i ate at the event. everyone had a good time-and best of all-boys went to sleep w/o much of a fight.
tomorrow's a long day. hubby has a union meeting, so i'm on my own all day. debating whether to hit up the zoo first thing in the morning, or go somewher else. we'll see how the boys moods are, and go from there. happy friday everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

how much can we handle?

i knew this was going to happen. a mom i know had baby #3 a couple of days ago. a little girl, with two older brothers. i know a couple of moms who have 4 kids, and seem to handle it well. each have 3 boys, and then a little girl. one mom is expecting her 5th, and as crazy as she thinks she is for having so much on her plate, i admire her for having a part time job that she loves, and still being a full time parent to her children. to add one more to the mix-a mom who thought she was done w/ her three boys (her youngest is going to preschool next year, and her oldest is eight), is pregnant with #4. so now it hits me-i'm envious. what the heck's up with that? this what i get for still being a stay at home parent? sigh-just something to think about, even if dh is relatively convinced we're done. sigh......

i hate technology

so reliant upon it-it suck sometimes. i wish dh or i was a tech wizard-once again our home internet connection is on the fritz, and i can't connect to the internet from it. thank goodness we have a laptop-it allows me to stay somewhat connected until we figure out the problem. something about the local area connection and its settings, i don't know. we don't have the extra money to pay for tech support-and geek squad-what a rip off! ughhhhhh.
that brings me to my next complaint, or should i say insight? i should hope that no matter what people spend their money on, that others aren't quick to judge them for their choices. i know i may speak too quickly sometimes, and try to avoid making rash judgements. i guess my main beef is that i've been telling people how i am in part looking for work to help pay for the house stuff (mold) we have going on, (ever mind the fact that i was looking previous to that, but...) and in the same conversation, asked how much preschool costs. i'll be the first to admit-yes, preschool isn't necessary-but like anything its something that is an outlet for my boys, and whether it was that or some other activity, chances are, we'd be paying for something just to get out of the house. if i really needed to, and the mold issue was incredibly expensive, then by all means, i'd put that ahead of sending my kids to preschool. sigh...i'm not one to get all defensive, but this just riles me for some reason....
btw, don't mind me, i'm in a pissy mood :(

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

stinking heat

omg, its supposed to be 108 today-and the a/c will be on by noon, i'm betting. ughhhh. the big boys have preschool today, so its just me and e. we'll probably hang home-although there's a couple of events (in totally opposite directions) that i want to get out to-between that and the repairman for the freezer, it should be a busy morning. at least it won't be an expensive day (unless you count the a/c running!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

buckling down

my thoughts for today
1. looking forward to the brand new computer my brother, the computer guru, bought for our family, costing only $300. it wasn't an easy decision to make, but considering that we rely so much on our one desktop computer and w/o it, well, we have no way of storing our family information, my conducting our household business, and having access to the internet is necessary, having just one functioning computer is a need. we waited until we had the cash in hand to pay it off in full, and coupling that with my desire to wait for a great deal paid off, and now we'll enjoy the fruits of that labor. my brother is going to install all the programs that we use-plus he'll hold onto it until we go to the bay area next month, so i don't have to pay shipping. he's going to look for an external hard drive for us, if not w/ him, then slickdeals will probably have something as the back to school sales ramp up. there's not much that we'll have to transfer over, but getting the external hard drive beforehand would definitely save time, plus back up those precious family pictures. we'll see what happens-my patience is getting better.

2. after eating out last night with the boys, we ate home today. made pizza burgers and sauteed veggies for dinner. loved how they turned out.

3. we made it a whole week w/o hitting up costco. the only things we need is milk and salad. i'll be getting a weeks worth of veggies/fruit for $8 or less from the veggie stand in town. i can't wait to see what's there, yummy :-)

4. resisted spending money at target last night and this morning. yay! i'm sure i'll be tempted more once the summer stuff is clearanced to 50% or more, in a week or so. they're ramping up for back to school-that means markdowns are on the horizon.

5. i know we use our amex to build up our rebate every month-and every month we're reducing how much we spend-even though gas has gone up, our total oop expense on the card has gone down. yay!!! lets just hope that we keep it up-i think we can, and i'm determined to reduce it a couple hundred less w/ each passing month. w/ all the cheap veggies, choosing free and inexpensive outings, and healthy eating we're doing, i definitely see that happening! that'll make paying for the mold work that much easier to swallow. once that's situated, we'll resume work on the one outstanding credit card-then full throttle on paying off the van ahead of schedule.

6. i love thinking ahead :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

the eating out battles

Today we drove to V town since hubby had to finish up and drop off some work, before leaving for S town later tonight. I thought it was a good idea for us all to go, since we could play at the nearby mall while he worked, and then head home. I was so tempted to eat out, but the boys were starting to act up. hubby had a stomachache, and mr E was becoming cranky-so we decided to head home. Oh how Jamba was calling my name, yet I knew that buying for me would lead to buying lunch for the boys. It wasn't worth the energy to stop and get it, but I think I fought the right battle. Tonight I'm on my own, so I figured I may take the boys to McDs to run off their energy (and call it an early night for me). If not, its not the worst thing to eat some frozen treat from the freezer, and chill out while the boys watch videos. Tomorrow night can't come fast enough....

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Normally I don't post this late, but my dad just left town, and hubby's laying down with the boys, so no time like the present to sit and write w/ my thoughts. This weekend, I learned so much about love, respect, true meaning of happiness and family. I gained a lot of clarity and understandng about who my parents are, why things happen, and how (and why) I want things to be different for me and my husband on so many levels, our shared values, beliefs, how we communicate, how we negotiate, how we interpret things, and how we move forward. I gained a new appreciation for my parents (although there's drama there, I still appreciate the fact that I turned out okay), and look forward to raising my children. I've come to realize that while I may worry about finances, nothing is finite, so I need to relax, enjoy where I'm at, and look forward to the adventures we have yet to experience.

Money was spent this weekend-but we kept it under control. We brought picnic lunches out with us yesterday to the community festival, and brought lunch to the zoo today. My dad and his girlfriend watch the 3 (yes, all 3!) boys tonight, so hubby and I went out alone (for the first time in 4 years, w/o me pregnant, an infant, or any other child attached to us). Can you say wonderful??? We went to a movie and out to a brewery for music and dinner. Not only did I enjoy a hot meal, but enjoyed a homemade beer too-yummy! What we saved on the babysitter, we spent on the evening, and we talked-talked about stuff not related to children, but to us as individuals and as husband and wife. It gave me an opportunity to remember why I married this wonderful man-and considering we're celebrating our 6 years of being together (inseperable since our first date July 12, 2002) this week-I remembered how even though we've been thrown financial curveballs, we always work together, as a team, and overcome those obstacles and ride into the good times. This time will be no different.

Anyways, I'm off to enjoy the rest of my evening-yay kids are sleeping!-and think about how relaxing tomorrow will be. I'll post pictures tomorrow of the boys.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

melting mess

what a wonderful thing to find as I'm getting ready for tomorrow's bbq-my outside freezer (yes the one I posted about before) has begun to defrost. Again. This time, I called Sears, and found out that there is a lost food warrenty-so everything that couldn't be salvaged is sitting in it until Tuesday-the repair tech needs to see everything and file the claim. I did toss the 30 thing of hamburger meat-that would just smell rancid by Tuesday-and I don't need a rodent problem on top of everything else. The silver lining is that I cleared out whatever was still rock solid hard, and moved it inside-thank goodness I had room!
All this, along w/ paying bills, cleaning house, and preparing for my dad's visit. Tonight I'm really having a drink to unwind after all that stress!
I decided we're going to feast on tri-tip and chicken, and relax the day away. There's a few free community events tomorrow, so we may make it out that way. We can always come home and unwind, go swimming in the pool, let Zadie (yiddish for Grandpa) spoil his grandkids, I get to meet the new girlfriend. Tomorrow night we'll go somewhere and see fireworks. No big plans to spend money, trying to conserve as much so we won't hurt when the mold repairs start, but if something comes up, we'll use our best judgement. Its not everyday that my dad flies in from the East Coast, and it'll be awhile before we make it out there with the boys.
Hope everyone has a safe weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

the bigger picture

Before I pay the bills this month, I know things will be tight-only because by doing that, it'll make life easier to deal with in the long run. We've made some good choices along the way, and I foresee that helping us with making decisions later on. It should be noted that despite my best intentions, things will come up and a certain level of flexibility is needed.
Today was a perfect example of that. I belong to a hospitality group, and we bring dinner to those who either just had a new baby, had surgury, or for some other major reason, a cooked meal hits the spot. Its not often that we're called upon-but having been a recipient, I know the true value and meaning of it. This weekend, we got notice that a famiy was dealing w/ a death in a family, resulting in multiple generations having to reside in one roof, and a lot of legal, health, and emotional baggage. I volunteered, even though I didn't know them personally, my heart breaking for them. I forsaked a meal out w/ my family this month (about $30) so this family could have a hot meal brought to their home, so they could have the strength to face these new, unexpected challenges. Hubby wondered why I did it-and honestly, if we were in the same situation, I'd hope that someone would do something for us. Even if no one helped, at least I know that we eased the burden ever so slightly for one night. This puts all my complaints in perspective.