Sunday, August 31, 2008

shopping as a family

forgot to post sat evening....
we had a rough morning today. after last night, that didn't suprise me. we lounged around since 6am, but the coffee pot wouldn't work. anyone that knows us well, knows we need our coffee first thing in the morning. sigh. we made it through somehow, cleaning up the toys, vacuuming out the car, and made a feeble attempt to get going w/ the intent of picking up starbucks on our way to the zoo. um, we hit the zoo, and all three boys were conked out. we found a shady spot, and we laid our seats back too. 45 min later, we woke up. decided we weren't up for the zoo, kids were hungry, we were thirsty-going to the zoo in this condition (w/o a packed ice chest) was just asking to blow our budget.

we opted to head to a shopping area, and pick up a new coffee pot. i knew we were hungry, and instead of shopping on empty stomaches, we split a couple of combo snack deals. for under $5, the five of us had a nice snack, and refreshed ourselves. after that, it was offto the small home appliances section to look at coffee makers. we got a decent one for $25 (it was on sale from $40), and had a quick jaunt around the store. found a few other things we needed, underclothes for hubby and a small fan for his windowless, stuffy office. i swung by the scrapbooking aisle-sigh, i loved all the fall papers, the harvest themed stickers, but like w/ everything else, i know this too shall be on sale (and considering i'm not caught up on the boys albums, by the time i'm ready, this too shall be marked down).

i asked hubby if i should look for clothes for the boys-they had a great section of clearance for kids. he knows i'm super thrifty and that our kids wear out their stuff. yet, considering i've been hitting the jackpot at the local thrift store, getting barely worn, name brand tops, bottoms, and jackets throughout the year, i decided to skip it this time. i did see that swim stuff was marked down 75% so i know that it'll soon be time to buy for next spring/summer wardrobe.

the rest of the afternoon was spent at home, lounging in the front yard, sipping wine coolers and watching the three boys play. love this kind of afternoon. tonight we grilled, and plan to hit the bed early. tomorrow we're off to the zoo, enjoy the sunshine, and one last weekend of summer.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

celebrate today

the pier r's uncle built

the view from napa-priceless....

not what will be, what could have been, what should have been. we had a beautiful day with the boys, a nice afternoon with friends celebrating a first birthday of a little boy. tonight the plan was to celebrate my 29th birthday. we made it out to dinner, on the way got a phone call we were dreading, but decided to continue to dinner. we made plans to drop everything tomorrow and make the four hour drive to see r's uncle. i don't know much, but i know at that moment, money was not a worry for me. nothing else mattered but doing whatever it took to ease my husband's mind and heart.
another phone call came right before the birthday flan arrived, about 9pm. yeah, not the best time in the world to have happy birthday sung-almost like viewing a train wreck in slow motion. r's uncle passed on, no more than 90 minutes after we had recieved the first phone call. so much for a celebration.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

planning for the coming months

Reading blogs is a dangerous thing sometimes, it puts thoughts in my head. Visions of birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah are floating around. I'm determined to make the best of it, because I love doing fun things, and love designing creative solutions.

First thought-birthdays. Hubby, G, and E all have birthdays within a 5 day span. I'm not one for big bashes, but I do love acknowledging special days, heck who doesn't? I think we're going to continue the tradition of child's first birthday w/ just us immediate family going to dinner, since we started that long ago w/ M when we lived far away from family, and made it our own special thing. I may do something like cupcakes w/ E's baby group or the playgroups we already attend, but since we've never done a big bash, I don't see the point in starting one now. For G, I think we'll do something at home, invite friends for an extended playdate, some snacks, cupcakes, and a good time. I'd love to have a special event (for M we had a clown), but not sure if we'll be able to swing that, I'll have to double check our finances. Either way, its looking like a house party here. For hubby, dinner out w/o kids, and maybe a suprise visit from or to see his dad. I have to make a phone call about that. As hard as it may be to have them all close together, I love the fact that everyone has their own special day.

I'm making E's costume this year. I bought the boys their costumes 75% off last year, and got them for under $5 each. They are super excited about them. After the holiday rush, I plan on doing the same thing. If I don't get them, I'll just make them. I love being crafty, and the boys are used to it. When the the time comes that they want what everyone else has, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. We're also going to make decorations for outside the house, and do lots of arts and crafts. I'm utilizing stuff from the dollar store and freecycle to help out w/ expenses. We're doing the pumpkin patch several times w/ various groups, an annual photo w/ friends (if not, then I'm at least taking the boys myself), and a couple of holiday parties. The money spent on this stuff will come from our weekly grocery budget-seeing as how we're still under budget (love the g-game!) it shouldn't be a problem.

Holiday gifts are easy this year. We're making gifts for everyone. Grandma loved the homemade art work for her birthday, so I'm building upon that for holidays. Plus, in recent years, our extended families have gotten away from material gifts, and are loving the simplicity of spending time together, just hanging out and going to each other's homes. Even when we visit, and go shopping, we're more likely to browse than buy. I think we're all watching sales more often, and are more attuned to rock bottm sales now.
We're also going to do gift exchanges w/ the kids, and I told hubby I'm going to utilize the dollar store as my primary resource to make gift baskets. We're also going to continue the tradition of cutting down our own tree, making cookies, spending time at local community celebrations, and also taking advantage of various moms clubs parties to add to a festive holiday season. We're still doing our holiday card, and sending out them to everyone we know, even w/ that expense, I think we'll stay under budget.
Well, this is my first post about holidays (someone beat me to the punch, I'm guessing they'll also have their holiday cards out first, lol). I'm sure there will be more posts like this in the future.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

takeout for dinner

Yep, I've been hankering for Thai food. However, given our current financial situation, I can't see going out for dinner. So, I made it here. With everything I had already in the pantry, I made an excellent veggie and shrimp curry. It tasted awesome, like it came from a hole-in-the-wall thai restaurant we love in the bay area. I believe it would have cost R and me plus kids at least $25 to eat out, but it cost us under $5, since everything was bought at rock bottom prices. Just one of those days the grocery game saves dinner!

why am i not suprised?

Hubby hit a house awning when we were moving his aunt months ago. We thought for sure it was covered under our car insurance, if not them, then at least the rental van company. Of course, no one wants it to be covered under them-I think the main reason is because hubby was driving the van but it was rented out to his aunt. Who the heck knows. The property owner is claiming $990 for damages and replacement, w/ three estimates having been provided. Due to a snafu w/ hubby submitting paperwork (besides it just not being covered) we may need to pay for this out of pocket. Hubby is all ready to cut a check to this guy, and I told him no. We're either going to see a paid bill (that he already paid) or we're going to pay the repair company directly. I'm not about to blindly hand over a check. Not to mention the fact that our savings are already tapped out, so the entire amount would have to come out of next month's paycheck. Lovely eh? I need a strong drink right now.....

random thoughts

I made a delicious dinner last night, shredded bbq beef sandwiches using the crock pot. Knowing that a similar sandwich at the farmer's market costs $7 each, and we had 4 sandwiches (w/ leftovers for today) that meal saved us at least $28. It'll be hard to top last night's dinner tonight, but given the heat, I think we're more thirsty these days than hungry. Time to brew more iced tea, that's saving money too.

Gap is having a fall sale on their clothes. I have a gift card to use, I'm needing some additional jeans-I only have two post pregnancy pairs that fit-the rest I already got rid of. I'm thinking I'll find what I want online and purchase them. I'll avoid a trip to the mall, even though w/ the high heat, we're going out anywhere that has an indoor play attraction for the kids.

Getting the substitute teacher's permit is going to set us back $132 between the two counties we live near. I debated whether to go for both counties, but DH said once its done, then its done. Given that the lowest day rate for one of the school districts pays $100 a day, its a sound investment. I'll have the cash once DH gets paid next week, and will hold it until I go in for fingerprinting.

I saw the pictures for E's 9 month sessions. They came out wonderfully.Made my ovaries twitch-that coupled w/ my reluctance (okay, avoidance) in going through his outgrown baby clothes is turning out to be harder than I thought. Now I understand why I bought clothes from women who's youngest child was at least 2 years old. It may take awhile to sink in that we're done having kids. (and until DH finally keeps that v appt, there's always a chance of having one more, ;) )

The natives are getting restless. We're off to a park today, and then McDs to burn off more energy, followed by naps in the car, and a trip to Target to scope out clearance. We'll see how much we accomplish-I have some freebies w/ my birthday coming up so may use those to give us a snack. Stay cool, its going to be a hot one!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

keeping it real

Last night, I was so tempted to say lets go out and celebrate-I didn't want to cook, it was extremely hot outside, the kids were antsy. We stuck w/ our plan-picked up our dog since we couldn't take her w/ us on our trip, and cme home. I made a quck pasta dinner, and everyone was happy. Its hard not to see dollar signs when I know I can potentially make some good money subbing. However we have to get back on track. We have a pile of bills that won't go away (but is getting paid down slowly), we want to reestablish our nest egg that got dissolved by the home repairs, and we want to teach our boys good oney habits. It won't mean that we won't want to splurge-I'm sure the temptation will arise, but really, part of the way we got here was by splurging, just overkill on the splurging part, and then wham, got hit by an unexpected expense that would have been taken care of by our windfall (if it hadn't been spent on something fun). Maybe this is a sign of financial responsibility? If it only took me until I'm almost 30 to find out, then at least I can use this to have a better life later on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

the CBEST results

I PASSED!!!!! I forgot to check until now, kids kept me that busy. Hooray!

what really counts

thoughts from this weekend, in no particular order.
life is short.
children can be entertained for hours with nothing more than a couple of random baby toys, whether or not they have to share them, and whether or not they are completely age appropriate-imagination is a wonderful tool.
stuff is just stuff. and then you can sell everything and go buy a boat, and sail for 5000 miles.
$500,000 may not get you very much in napa, except a dilapidated old house, but it can still hold more laughter and friendship than a huge, cheaper house in town, or other nearby cities
turning 30? doesn't seem so bad when you hear how life really gets interesting at 50, 60, and beyond
i love my kids.
if i had chosen another path, i could be 28, traveling through europe, not a dollar in my bank account and still be happy; but i'm here, broke, barefoot w/ 3 kids underfoot, and i love what i have.
life is short, don't miss opportunities-you don't know if you'll have another chance.
if you make mistakes, you learn. at least you're around to talk about it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the fine line of budgeting

I went off the deep end. I blew a gasket because R wanted oj for the house and for his office breakfast group. We never drink it at home, mainly because I can't stand to see how one gallon disappears in a day-if it lasts that long. I didn't mind him bringing something to work to share-that's part of the communal/team approach at his office. Instead, I bought some healthy 100% juice from the grocery store ($2 for 64 oz of cranberry juice, score!), and R was happy with the find.

Later, we went to Costco; I stayed with the kids while R ran in for a few items. He snuck in a two pack of oj. I was fuming. The cost was more than the oj at the store we had just come from, and I launched into this whole debate about why our kids don't need juice, I don't touch it (it goes back to it was always gone by the time I got to it at home), and he'd be the only one drinking it; not to mention that it would be gone in a day w/ the way he guzzles milk now. By the time we got home, my mood improved. The kids were quieter, and R and I talked about our impending trip to see his uncle. I relented about the juice issue because I knew my husband is stressed to the max, and really a thing of juice-I'll just skip a take out snack and make up the money difference. We go home, and then I notice it-its not even real oj, its some sort of other garbage. Sigh. I told dh if he really wanted oj, fine, but i'm not having this crap inside. We've been working too hard to have healthier stuff in the house-this would be a huge back step for us. So tomorrow, I'll return the garbage juice and get the real oj hubby craves. Heck, its the least I can do-everything else is just crazy right now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

day of returns

the boys and i had a busy day. after heading to a park (w/ a homemade picnic lunch), we made the rounds. the errand i'd been avoiding for weeks, returning the cricut, was done today. i was so sad about the whole thing, but really, right now i couldn't keep it and have a clear concious about our finances. also returned an impulse buy that never made it out of the car-if it had been in there two weeks, and still was in the car, it needed to go back. also went to babies r us, and returned an item i had for baby e-having it sit on the counter for two weeks, and still not being used. it was time to let it go. hubby took the boys to home depot tonight, bought a much smaller version of an item that he had returned last week (to the tune of $35 less!) and bought an electric thermostat so we can finally regulate our a/c and heating use.
needless to say, we were busy. i made a good dinner, and opened the mail. i wasn't suprised to see the mammoth (both in detail and price) invoice from the mold remediation/cleanup service. i'll say it once more, i'm so glad i returned that cricut! now its about plugging away at the rest of the debt that's mounted up, and chugging along. that's all we can do right now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

redefining myself

When I started this blog eight months ago, I intended to use this as a platform to reenergize my life-to help me focus, and be the best "me" I could be-the payoff would ripple across all sections of my life. I sense that lately I've been in a downward spiral, or maybe just at a low point. I've been struggling to rise above it all, see the bigger picture, but sometimes all you want is to just huddle into a puddle of self pity. Yesterday I think I reached my boil over point. The job situation sucks. The money situation double sucks. The boredom factor of being a SAHM also kicked into gear.

At the same time, I have a ton to be grateful for. I have my health, my life, my husband, my children. I have resources available to me for help-if I choose to use them. Today I'm going to turn the page, and work to rise out of my slump. There's not a lot I can control-in fact, there's nothing I can control besides myself.

I'm not going to diminish the fact there is a rough road ahead, R's uncle is deteriorating, death is close. His grandfather is going downhill too; when it rains, it pours. Expenses will be what they are so my husband can have closure (easier said than done). We'll stand close together; we'll get through this. Money problems? Its all relative, what we're going through is just a blip in our lives.

Monday, August 18, 2008

the job

I didn't get the job. I don't know what's worse-not knowing, or them not calling, and me calling this afternoon to find out. Ugh. At least my boys gave me exta hugs this morning and tonight we're having a family night at a baseball staduim. It makes the situation a little easier to swallow. In the back of my head, I keep heaing "things happen for a reason". Maybe it was just meant to be this way?

Friday, August 15, 2008

one fish, two fish

yellow fish, gold fish
took the boys to a carnival that their preschool put on. it was evident that a lot of thought and planning went into it. m was so thrilled. he won a goldfish. g won one too. and of course, there were leftover fishes, so we adopted a couple more. now we have the fun task of getting fish food and other fish supplies tomorrow. i know i have a brown thumb when it comes to gardening. i wonder how i'll do as the caretaker to fish?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sing us a song, you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight.......

I spoke w/ M's preschool teacher today. She told me how he had a great day, and discussed how the class had a visit from a classmate's grandmother who is a professional pianist. The class had an opportunity to listen to music, and then take a turn sitting with the woman and play music. The woman commented to M's teacher that she felt M had a gift w/ music-this wasn't new to the teacher, as she has often told me of M running to the music station, being hands on w/ the instruments, having a good sense of beat, loving to dance and be involved in the activity. The teacher brought it up to me, and told me this woman only felt that M and one other child had an excelled talent, he was enthralled with the piano and playing music-not just banging the keys.

I've wondered for a long time whether to enroll M in some sort of music/dance activity. For the longest time it was put off because I didn't want to waste money on an overpriced activity that was more about me than him. Then I put it off because it was financially not doable. However, something weird happened today, and is making me wonder if I should reconsider. I heard Michael Buble's song "Lost" this morning, and thought how I should enroll M in the fall session of K town's dance studio. DH and I had discussed it before, but I thought maybe it was time. Why I had this thought, at the same time M was doing the piano activity, seems too coincidental.

This dscussion is far from over, and will be continued....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

in one pocket, out the other

my spending is out of control-or so it seems. i know stuff is going up in price, but w/ the boys being more restless, the weather getting hotter, i'm just not on track. my motivation is just at an all time low today. this sucks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

the look of a stay at home mom + money

Never did I feel like a SAHM than this afternoon-I took the boys to McDs to run off a ton of energy. The place was deserted-so you can imagine, my boys had a field day for close to 90 minutes. I didn't mind, until it was time to leave, and M proceeded to throw a tantrum. Nice. I finally get near the door of the restaurant, and a woman (who was all put together-reminded me of how I would look if I was a working mom) behind me tries to hold it open-but M won't budge. Grrrrr. I told her he has attitude, and thank her for doing it. Fast forward a minute, M decides to behave, and I notice it-the woman is in the parking lot w/ the same van as me. While her's is brand new (still has the dealer info where the license plates will go), mine is filthy. Then again, so was I. 3 kids, an afternoon of 100+ heat, yeah, I looked frazzled. I don't know why this bugged me so much. Anyways, I went home, and cleaned out my filthy van. It would have cost $16 to have it done. Was it worth it? Ask me later after I give the boys a bath-while I was cleaning the car, they were playing in a big pile of dirt.

Monday, August 11, 2008

like a well loved pair of jeans

Its been a long time since I've gone to a group event for V town's Moms Club. I had broken the ice a few months back, joining the baby playgroup for E. I love it, it gives me a place to just enjoy E's babyhood which is already passing by quickly. However, for one reason or another, we hadn't ventured to a group activity. Well, I took a leap, and glad I did. I met many new faces, and talked with some I hadn't seen in years. Ones I knew as toddlers, are now big preschoolers. Preschoolers are schoolaged children. And of course, a few mommies are pregnant too. Time flies by, but one thing remains constant. We all hold the common thread of motherhood.

I think I need to break out my mom-calendar once again. I think I'll be making more trips down to south, as well as establishing a strong footing in a couple of clubs up north.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

treating myself

I never had this problem before I had children. If I wanted a new candle, lotion, or a yummy starbucks drink, I bought it. Now everything revolves around buying stuff for the house, for the children, and for the husband. I'm definitely not Ms. Suzy Homemaker (although sometimes I wish I could be completely organized and on top of everything). So why is it so hard to just pick a gift card out? Ughhhhhhh. I have rewards points from a credit card I don't use, and want to maximize the inherent potential of spending power. So why do I keep looking at the Gap and Old Navy and Williams Sonoma when I should get Home Depot or Target (more practical). Sigh....can someone tell me what to do?

super sunday

nothing is complete w/o mommy confessions. check out the amazing blog, and the links to all the websites for mommas!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

what a peach!

Both an ode to my husband and to the delish fruit!
Hubby took all three boys to McD's and the zoo this morning while I took the CBEST exam. While I wasn't keen on him spending money (we had plenty of breakfast stuff here), I'm working on choosing my battles. I was almost late (or so I thought) to the exam, but hubby was a sweetheart and made sure I had coffee this morning (which I really needed!) Not to mention, he also had the boys share one breakfast, and didn't get suckered into M wanting a toy or soda/juice (he gave both boys water instead).
The peaches we got at the farmers stand only lasted a day at home-all of us found one (or more), and devoured them! Given the fact that we had loaded up on veggies (which were all devoured last night in an awesome dinner dish), we're headed back there in the morning for more. One thing's for sure, I'm going to miss my vegetable stand come winter. I already told hubby that I'm planning on making batches of veggie dishes that can be prepped and frozen in the coming weeks. It'll make the summer bounty last a little longer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

never hurts to ask

Called up Directv to find out about special promotions/reduced rates-walked away with free Showtime for 3 months. Did I mention we had Showtime for free for three months up until a few weeks ago since I had called 4 months ago and asked the same thing? At this rate, we'll have Showtime the whole year, and not pay for it, all for giving Directv a call.
Also called ATT-inquired about our local/long distance phone service. I wasn't able to reduce our bill, but got 120 minutes of long distance for $10, instead of the 100 minutes we currently have for the same price. Sometimes I hate living in Kingsburg, since every call we make to Fresno seems to be long distance (which is considered any phone call longer than 16 miles away), but oh well. At least we have extra minutes now.
Now I'm cashing out mypoints for some gift cards for myself-target anyone?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

two steps forward, one step back, and repeat

This drive to decrease our spending, and increase our savings,well, its tough stuff. It seemed so easy when it was just te two of us, all we had to do was stay at home, or work more hours, and we were fine-then entered parenthood. The toys, the clothes, the events-it all adds up. Factor in tired parents, and enter in meals out, day trips, weekend trips, places that we think will give our child the edge to be smarter, cuter, funnier, etc for his counterparts. Its not about the multiplying by additional children-either way, it adds up.
I'm a bit on edge, since I paid the bills for this month, and as expected, money is tight. However, its not because money isn't there to spend-its just because I'm making it that way so we can get ahead. I truly want to teach my boys good spending habits. I don't want them to think they blink and I give them ice cream, a ride at an amusement park, or a free ride to college.
I've decided I'm going to return the Cricut I bought a few weekends ago. While I really want it, its not a need, and I really have to model do as I do, not just what I say. So, tomorrow while the boys are in preschool, the cricut will get returned. I'm a bit sad, but its better off this way. I just hope I can make it to WalMart tomorrow, and my drive doesn't dissipate into a puddle of mush.

Monday, August 4, 2008

the perfect job

Today I interviewed for my dream job-now its a waiting game. The specifics on the job: The maternal and family ward social worker at the hospital. Choice of 5 8 hour days, or 4 10 hour days, every 3rd weekend you work the weekend shift, and no being on-call. The hardest adjusment would be the weekend shift-but considering I watch the boys all day when hubby works weekends, its only fair for him to do his part. Money is awesome-$24-31 an hour. I'm wondering if I'll get this, if I get it, if I'll accept, so many decisions to make. I really feel I have a shot at this-I prepared for it-read up on interviewing, and reviewed my social work text books. I did everything I could think of to give myself an edge-even had 7 copies of my resume w/ me (which I handed out to each participant of the 7 person interview panel). Hubby says that should help raise me above everyone else. Now a week of waiting, and before that, the CBEST exam to take. If I prep for that like I did for today, that should be a piece of cake.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

weekend update

What a whirlwind weekend! I wasn't sure what we had planned, except for a suprise birthday party to attend. The party, and not knowing what else we would do, made me a bit unsettled. I didn't want to miss the party, yet I didn't want to sit at home all day w/ three busy kids. A family friend helped settle my quandry-we spent the morning at the zoo, and made it to the party with three well rested children (who slept from the zoo to home to the party). We brought snacks to the zoo, but forgot drinks. Thankfully the weather was pleasant, and only got hot when we entered the water park. The boys had a blast getting wet with their friends, and I enjoyed sitting in the shade w/ the other parents.
Th party went off wonderfully! A friend's husband planned the entire thing-she had no clue until she walked in the door. It was obvious by the tears that she was really suprised, and I was so glad it went off w/o a hitch. The afternoon was spent swimming, eating, socializing. The boys went to bed w/o a struggle and hubby and I relaxed the night away w/ COPS and ice cream.

Today was a low key day. Hubby cleaned out the garage with the boys, and I tended to clean up the inside rooms. The afternoon was spent running errands in V town. I hit up my grocery game list for Rite Aid, and have a ton of stuff to donate to charity. Hubby was shocked at the money I spent, but understanding the concept of rebates, he knew that the money was coming back to us. We hit up Costco for our weekly groceries-under $60. Most of it was items that last us at least half the month-salad, dried fruit, butter, cheese, soda. I have dinner (carne asada-yummy!) defrosting in the fridge, and will plan the rest of our meals out later tonight. I have a few recipes to try from Rachel Ray magazine, as well as fresh produce from the farmers stand.

The plan is to stay close to home as much as possible, as long as possible, because we may have some unexpeted expenses come up later this month. Hubby's uncle is gravely ill, and if we need to go see him, or help out his family in some way, I don't want it to take away from our family responsibilities. We're also on track to start paying for the mold clean up, and I want that paid as soon as possible. That's what's happening here.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Yikes! Driving home from mommy errands yesterday, I got a phone call. The big hospital in V-town-the one I'd love to work at-called me for an interview! Its a medical social worker position, and I put on my application I am open to shifts, hours, everything. I figure I just want to get my foot in the door, and then go from there. I go in Monday, and after a 15 min one-on-one interview, sit in front of a panel for an hour. Not so fun-but at least I know what to expect. Now its about preparing for those possible interview questions! Talk about a turn around-I had two rejection letters last week, so this was a pleasant (and welcome) suprise.

Have the CBEST test next Sat-Looking at the libraries, it seems all the test prep books have been checked out-so I may have to make a trip out to B&N to see if there's something there I can use and/or just get some basic math&reading (what your ___ grader should know) type books. I think the boys and I will take a trip out there this afternoon once the repair man gets done.

Have more to post about, but will have to do that later. Kids are too quiet....