Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend

Yesterday was a wonderful Thanksgiving, and it turned out better than I expected. We spent the morning at home, playing with the children, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on tv. I made pancakes w/ G, and he was thrilled with how I made it a G and mommy event.

At noon, we headed into C town, to help prepare and serve Thanksgiving dinner to the fire, police, and paramedic personnel that were working. I thought it was a nice way to give back to our community, and was amazed when I heard the story of why the event was taking place. The woman who planned the event does something for her community every year, and this year she chose to serve our protective employees a Thanksgiving meal. She planned everything in less than a week, calling 15-17 restaurants in the area who donated all the food and drinks. It was an incredible set up, and goes to show how one person really can make a difference.

Both G and M were on their best behavior, and helped set the tables, and put various items in bowls. R sliced the turkey and ham, and I helped put the finishing touches on whatever needed to get done. E was awesome-when he wasn't in his stroller, he was content being held by R or myself. Later on, he crawled along the floor, happy as could be. There was more than enough food for everyone, and we were invited to eat too. We had ourselves a relaxed meal, and the food was delicious!

We came home to rest, and the boys spent the afternoon playing outside. Before it got too dark out, I took the boys on our annual Thanksgiving walk around the neighborhood. The boys picked up huge fallen leaves along the way, and was eager to show R when we returned home. I loved walking along the streets, hearing my boys chattering amongst themselves. I reminisced about years past, since we've spent every Thanksgiving at our home. Its hard to believe another year has passed, its gone by in a blink of an eye. The evening ended with us watching movies together.

Today was also a nice day. We spent the morning at home, perusing the black friday ads both in the newspaper and online. The boys played with their toys, and had a nice time watching Sprout tv. I took care of our holiday greeting card order, and picked that up while we were out and about today. We hit a couple of the major stores, looking for a blue tooth set up for R's phone. We found a nice one for him at a reasonable cost. We had put off getting that until today, in hopes of getting a deal, and Best Buy did not disappoint. R already put the receipt with our tax stuff so he can write it off for work. The rest of the shops, we just window shopped. Neither of us were tempted to buy anything, it was just something to do to get us out of the house.

Now the boys are playing outside w/ R, and I'm taking a break for myself. After dinner tonight, I'll compose our holiday greeting and get that ready to mail out tomorrow. I already have our addresses together, thanks to the spreadsheet I've used in past years.

Tomorrow we'll head to the zoo or a park if the weather permits. The only other thing I'd like to do is get our holiday lights up, and chances are R will do that tomorrow or Sunday. As long as we get them up before we get another dose of rain, I'll be a happy girl.

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How many in a family

I debated posting this here, but as I'm going through baby clothes and toys today to freecyle, today seems like the day to get it out in black and white.

Adding to our family has been the topic of discussion lately. I've been asking R if he was ready to get the V done, and he said not yet, since it definitely closes the door to having more children. I already knew that, and when I told him I thought he didn't want anymore, R mentioned that he may be open to having one more. Talk about floored-how long have we thought we were done? Every discussion, talking w/ family and friends, he's quick to point out how we're done. But now-when things are getting managable w/ our three boys? Talk about a switch.

While the idea is nice, I'm not sure where I stand, so I'm going to just see what develops. Work on our goals, and see where life takes us. Work for now, and see how I like it. I can always change my plan, and that's okay. In the meantime, I'm going to whittle down the baby stuff-I have an overabundance and passing things forward to a new mom sounds like a good idea. I know what we used (and what we really needed-not much for G and E, just diapers and warm clothes-and no baby is picky about the brand/style of clothes!) A durable car seat is easy to come by, and we still have our stroller.

I don't have a time frame for having one more, as it was I thought I wanted to have all my children by my 30th birthday. I'm not going to hold out hope for one more, my heart is full with love for our boys. I love what we have, and love the organized chaos that is our home. It reminds me of my childhood years (before the teen battles w/ my parents!). If we're blessed with one more, great. If not, that's okay too.

Now I'm off to bless someone else w/ some baby clothes :)

Thanksgiving plans

I truly feel that my letting go of control is assisting me in leading a saner, more peaceful life. R and I decided not to chance the drive to R's dad tomorrow, its raining hard there, and while we could spend the day inside, his dad lives in a tiny one bedroom apartment, and it would be like letting 3 tiny bulls free in a china shop.

As if life already had a plan, a open opportunity to serve meals popped up, and we're going to volunteer to serve firefighters and police officers, and the homeless in a nearby community. R and I decided that at the very least, one of us will volunteer w/ M, while the other parent supervises the younger two. I'm excited at the possibility of this learning opportunity for our family, for our boys, to share this holiday with others in our community. We'll spend the rest of the day at home, maybe rent a movie from the library, or make homemade cookies for a treat. Either way, its shaping up to be a wonderful holiday at home.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

pay it forward

Money is non existent until payday and that's okay. We have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I have a huge bag of canned goods to give to our community for the food drive tomorrow, and I'm going to have M and G put a second bag together. There will always be someone out there worse than us, and I am going to count my blessings. R also got a contact for a woman's shelter- not just for a job lead for me, but also where I can bring the huge bags of toiletries I've gotten for free the past few months. I can't wait to go down there as a family to make our donation. I'm also going to see if we have any extra blankets and coats, and add that to the mix. Yes, we may be in debt, but I know firsthand how people are struggling with a lot less, and make their load a little lighter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bonding time

Last night we had a great time w/ our preschool family at the potluck. It cracked me up to see my children running around, laughing, playing, as people sat around and talked, listened to the music man as he played his tunes. It warmed me up-because in terms of doing something for Thanksgiving- this is what we do-we don't have family close by, so its the people who we surround ourselves (preschool/playgroup/neighborhood friends) who we see during the holidays. I love making these memories with my boys, I hope they appreciate the family we have, and the people we celebrate with, because doing stuff like this is meaningful and special.

This morning we had G and E's birthday celebration at the park. As it turned out, G's preschool pals didn't come, and neither did E's playgroup buddies. Who did come are our treasured friends that we've made since moving to K town with M. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for anything more-except warmer weather! The boys were thrilled to see their friends, I had some girl time w/ the moms, and R-well, R helped big time with getting the pizza, setting up the cake, doing the behind the scene stuff. The cake was delish-R saved me a tiny slice, and I loved how it turned out. Yay for taking the initiative and doing it myself :-) I took pictures of it, and the birthday boys too.

We're at home now, enjoying our down time. We never made it to Costco this week (yay for skipping a whole week w/o it!) so we might head there tonight for groceries, or wait until morning. I'll be hitting the grocery sales hard this week, to prep for Thanksgiving and the rest of the month. I already have everything stocked, so shouldn't need anything but fresh fruit and veggies, along w/ some dairy items that always need to get restocked. In case of rock bottom specials, I have my coupons ready to go, so I'll just take time now to relax, and enjoy my boys, the youngest of whom just fell soundly asleep w/ Daddy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Friday!

Today is quite a busy day for our house, and for once I feel on top on the important stuff, and its carried over to my mood.
For example, tonight is the preschool's family potluck. I signed up last week for a side dish, planning to use whatever we had at home. I originally planned to use my crockpot, but planning ahead I did one better- I made up a batch of cornbread this morning while getting everyone ready for school. I left it on the counter to cool, so when I get home after work, its ready to be plated and brought to preschool.
This morning was a foggy day schedule for work. I used the extra hour to swing by WalMart and get bread for sandwiches and bottled water for tomorrow. I never preordered a cake from Costco-instead I'll have cupcakes/cake that I make myself from all the baked goods supplies I already have on hand. I'll take care of that tonight after the boys go to sleep. The only thing left I'll have to do is make a bean dip, prep my other snacks, and load the car w the non refrigerated supplies/food tonight. I don't think tomorrow will be stressful, keeping it simple is reducing it, and after having done simple parties now for awhile, I don't think I'd want to do more. Its kind of funny too, how even the boys are excited, more about seeing their friends- I don't think they even care its to celebrate birthdays: makes me so glad I never invested a ton of money into doing it somewhere else.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Climbing out

Sometimes I wonder how we got into this situation. Was it one emergency or another that sent us teetering on the edge of a financial disaster? Its hard to keep everything in perspective when bills come, money goes out, and I don't see the immediate change in our situation. At the same time, once certain bills are paid, they will no longer exist, so maybe not seeing the change right offhand won't happen until other stuff fades away.

Yesterday I had a moment, I'd like to think of it as a break through. I realized that no matter what our current situation is, its not the end of the world as we know it. Thngs may look financially dismal right now, but it won't always be this way. In the grand scheme of life, this year will be a blip. Look at how much stuff has taken place this year, watching E grow during his first year, losing R's uncle, us celebrating 4 years of marriage, growing closer to my dad in years. I wouldn't trade all of this stuff, except for losing R's uncle. I don't like to always admit how hard it is to be in our situation, but I do own responsibility for getting us here, and I will see to it that we rise above it. We will do it, one step at a time.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving update

Wow-two posts in the same day? Wow, maybe I'm making up for lost time. Anyways onto my post.
It's official. We're staying put for Thanksgiving. After crunching the numbers today, we've decided to stay home for Thanksgiving. The cost of the hotel alone is a minimum of $100, and that's if we only stay one night. R doesn't want to add to our credit card debt, and told me point blank that we wouldn't enjoy ourselves if we went and relied on credit. We'll stay home, invite his dad to come see us (cheaper for them to drive and stay here vs us going there and paying for lodging, food, any entertainment). At the least we'll enjoy a stress free 4 day weekend, take advantage of the weather by going to the park, maybe the zoo, anything that's inexpensive or free. I'll put the exta money that we would have spent on our trip towards our debt-what we don't see, we won't spend.
Now on with the hunt for some good recipes to try :)

November update

Where have I been~normally I post throughout the week, but this month has been crazy busy! I guess that's a good thing-it helps that we have a lot going on, and not all of it is costing us a fortune. I picked up a thre day sub job that ended today-that was a sweet gig, and I'm already missing having the certainty of work. At the same time, I love the flexibility of not necessarily having to go to work 5 days a week, so on that end, I know I'm not quite ready to go back to work full time.

This weekend we spent time in my childhood stomping grounds. It had a different feel this time-it was 4 years this past October that we moved here, and now coming home, it really felt like we were home. My boys, while they get how excited Mommy is to go to San Jose, I don't think they truly get how I feel-(and I don't even want to think about them moving away from this home just yet!). Then again, maybe it was the frat house environment that has become my sister's apartment, since my two younger brothers moved in over the summer.

We survived, if only w/ bringing our own blankets and pillows (and next time our towels too!). I lucked out, picking up breakfast foods at the grocery for us-the boys woke up early, and somehow having two grown men in a house all week (my sister is only there on the weekends), you would think there would be something in the fridge-nope. The boys were just happy to have a tv/ and played outside w/ anything that wasn't necessarily a toy.

Our picture session went awesome. The location was beautiful, an unconventional spot (a business' side yard), and the kids, well, I don't think they really got that it was supposed to be a photo session-since they were having a blast playing outside. After our session, we let the boys play w/ our photographers' children-their daughter and son are both three months older than each of our younger two boys. Through conversations with both parents, I realize how we are fortunate to have each other. This economy is touching everyone, and leaves no one unscathed. We talkd about adding to each of our families, and I found it interesting to me how the mom felt she wasn't complete w/o having baby #3, and even though she knows that now isn't the best time (her husband is in the police academy, money is super tight, and stress is at an all time high), she's not closing that door-because she doesn't feel complete. I could relate-I think that's how I felt before having baby E. Even now, its hard to believe we're done having babies, but until that door is permanently shut (hint, w/ a "v"), then opportunity always exists to add to our brood.

On Sunday we ventured to San Francisco for Green Festival w/ my sister, her fiance, and the boys. We had free tickets (otherwise it was $10 per adult) and took Bart ($10 per adult, kids 4 and under were free) to save ourselves the headache of gas and parking. I must say, taking 3 young children on public transportation was quite an adventure. The boys loved it, they were well behaved, and it was a great experience. I would do this type of transportation again in a heartbeat for any of our trips-no matter how hard it was, it was inexpensive and a great learning opportunity, and it was easier carrying our stuff than having to travel back and forth to a car parked miles and miles away. Another perk, if we had issues w/ the boys, we would have just taken the train back-having our car, it wouldn't have made meltdowns or bad weather less problematic.

The place was beyond packed, and at times it was impossible to move more than 10 feet in five minutes, but we learned so much about our world that it was worth it. It didn't matter that the older boys were in and out of the double stroller all day, or that Elijah demanded to be carried a lot, it was doable. I can honestly say I had a good time, even if I didn't stop at every single booth-that's what the online resources for the fair are for! R and I talked about it on the way home-we definitely could manage on our own w/ all three of the boys at something like this. It just takes patience, being open to the unexpected, and a sense of going with the flow. We didn't leave the fest until after 2:30, and didn't get back to the train station until 4.

We stopped at a park nearby for another hour, and my sister took some great pictures for me to use for our family holiday card. Even w/ us all tired and not matching (those shirts being cast aside w/ the unusually warm weather), it looked great. I think we're more relaxed, and the word authentic comes to mind. It was how we are, a family of five, with three boys and relaxed smiles, crinkled brows, and fingers in mouths (courtesy of E).

We came home at 9pm last night, and it was a nice time to get home. Unpacking was a breeze, kids were still drowsy (they slept the whole way home!) and still crawled into bed for a full night's sleep. R and I were up w/ no problems at 5am this morning, ready to face the day. We'll hit the bed early tonight, but at least we enjoyed our visit. At the end of the day, that's what counts :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008

holiday inspiration

Check out SouleMama. I was impressed and you will too!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get those holiday ideas flowing!

I love getting magazines, and December's issue of Good Housekeeping did not disappoint. I have ideas for homemade gifts-better than what I already came up with, and they are super easy, and cheap, yet yummy and thoughtful. Isn't that the point of gift giving? I'll be testing those recipes in the weeks to come and iron out what I already have stocked in my pantry. I don't think I'll need very much, I've acquired most of my holiday baking supplies, including cake mixes, sugar, butter, sgar, and food coloring. I think I may run out of goodie containers, but I'll figure out a plan of action.

As for holiday cards, I was inspired to do things different this year. Read the essay in the mag about holiday cards and you will too. Instead of doing something professional, we're having my sister take a family snapshot of us. No pressure for the perfect pose-however the kids look, smile, wear, it'll show us-a family of five in all our glory. No need for a special background, we'll aim for a playground near my sister's house, and see what develops. I'll print up cards-using whatever discounts come my way-if we get a variety of cards, it'll be fine. No one will know that they're not gtting matching cards-everyone will just be happy to get a card.
There's more to read, it'll be a thumbed up isue for sure once I'm done, can't wait to see what other things I'm inspired to try! :-)

One thing at a time

Its so easy to get caught up in the moment, that sometimes its easy to let other things slide. I've sensed that happening to me-and it causes me to get frazzled, and sometimes spend money that I wasn't prepared to spend. I've been working on lessening that so it happens less frequently, but it does happen. Here are my current challenges, and how I'm coping.
-Prepping for the holidays-anything and everything holiday related. I've been using Fly Lady to start my lists of things to do, sorting, cleaning, and I'm making a fair amount of headway. I have a written journal w/ my lists, and I'm finding it easy to keep track of things that way when I'm away from my computer. If only I could figure out how to use my PDA to my advantage-but I'm slow on the uptake when it comes to technology. I figure by the end of the year, I'll figure it out.
Birthdays-enter mom guilt. G's birthday was on Tuesday-due to the holiday and the boys not attending preschool on Wednesday, today's the day to celebrate it at school. Last year's celebration was a mess-I was about to give birth and making sweets was the last thing on my mind. This year, I thought I'd bake something-after all, I baked muffins for M's birthday at school. My plans fell through- baby E had a rough night and I sent G to school with a store bought snack I had in the pantry. He was just excited about having cookies- but me, for just a minute I thought I should have done more. In the end I realized I needed to let it go, he was happy and that was my goal. The party/playdate I wanted to do- I've been getting sidetracked. I'm going to send out an evite/notes today, and put aside the guilt of not having perfect invites. As it is, no one saves them/looks at them often so why bother making a big fuss? It may cut into who comes- but I cannot control that, so I'm going to let that slide. I'll focus on my babies, who are slowly getting older, and enjoy the time I have with them before they grow up and don't want/need me around so much.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bring on the birthdays!

I really think having three birthdays in November is going to be cake :) We started off our birthday celebration yesterday, celebrating R's birthday. Over breakfast, the boys and I gave R his brithday photo book. R started to tear up as soon as he saw the inside picture (of him standing next to the assembled baby crib). Tears continued as he saw pictures of him w/ M, G, and E during their baby days, and I could tell that he really, really like it. Consindering how inexpensive this gift was to the others I've given over the years, it just goes to show the amount you spend on a gift doesn't equate the joy you get from it.

R got a huge cake at work, and his officemates decorated his office. We took pictures of it for prosperity, and will place that aside in R's scrapbook.

In the afternoon, I deposited the boys piggy bank money into each of their savings accounts. I also opened E's account-and the bank manager was shocked that we had an account for each child. I told him while I wish we had our own finances in order, I was glad that we at least had savings for each child.

Later that evening, I told R that instead of buying the boys presents for their birthday, I rather put money in their bank account to use for future expenses. I still want to celebrate their day, but focus on time and making memories instead of toys-speaking for myself, I cannot remember getting a toy and having that be a highlight of a celebration-instead, I remember spending time w/ my parents and siblings, and sometimes friends too, and doing something fun. I want to instill that in my own children too.

We hired a sitter last night, and went to the Elephant Bar for adult food and conversation. We splurged-if only by sharing an appetizer and entree, we each had a delish alcoholic drink too. That was the most expensive part of the day, if only because our sitter cost as much as our food. Oh well, we're used to it, since we don't have R's family or my siblings to watch the boys for us.

Today is a fun filled day for G and the family. R has the day off, so we made breakfast at home, and are planning on going together to a park for a playdate w/ a local mom's club. After that we're going to check out a Veteran's Day celebration near by, and possibly go to a national forest an hour away. Veterans and their families get free admission today; R has his Veterans of Foreign War card, so we might take advantage and make a day trip. R also gets a free car wash, not sure if it's in F or V town, but we may take advantage of that too. Its a tiny token for what really is an important holiday. We'll wrap up today by heading to our local cemetary, which is adorned with flags on veterans headstones. Its quite a sight, and its been a tradition of ours to go there every year since we moved here. I think its important for the boys to learn about the importance of the day, not just as a day off from school/work.

Remember our Vets today-without them, we wouldn't have the freedom to decide how we live our lives.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

weekend musings

random thoughts for this morning
-love, love my breadmaker! homemade rolls for dinner, cranberry muffin bread for breakfast :)
-sweaters and blue jean weather, how delightful!
-baking banana bread with the boys, yummy!
-knowing that within this week we celebrate R,G, and E's birthday, yay!
-grocery shopping should be a breeze today, list prices on breakfast items are rock bottom, and I have oodles of coupons!
-I LOVE, LOVE, this new site I found Blissfully Domestic - check it out!
-will post more later during nap time

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Family, Divorce, and Money

I'm beyond livid. Words cannot fully express how frustrated, hurt, disappointed I am with both my parents right now. On one side, I'm glad I'm grown with a family of my own-so I'm somewhat removed from the b.s. that has come with their impending divorce. On the other-since they have both done stupid things (which by themselves are not so bad, except when combined and put towards one another, become down right illegal and stupid), I'm now stuck in the middle.

Here's the short version. My mom finally filed for divorce a month ago, nearly 3 years after my dad told her e was leaving her, staying put in Chicago, and not coming back to CA. In the month since getting served with divorce papers, my dad sought and obtained legal counsel. He started to sift through the myraid amount of paperwork, starting to go through financial documents, to assist in getting stuff put in order to make everything short and sweet.

Fast forward to today. I got a phone call from my dad, in panic mode-mind you, he's never been one to panic. After obtaining a credit report, and some other documents, my dad found out my mom did some horrible stuff. Opened up credit cards w/ his name on it. Cashed out all their stock and bonds. Obtained a home equity line of credit, and maxed that out. Oh, and she also maxed out whatever credit cards they had in both their names, previous to her opening additional joint cards (which I'm assuming are also maxed out). The grand total so far-a minimum of $60,000-none of which has turned up in their joint bank account. My dad has no clue where the money is, but the reality is he needs to pay his attorney a retainer of $5000 so she can file proceedings against my mom, in regards to the divorce, and all this financial garbage. The downside-In doing all this damage, my mom did not leave a penny for my dad to retain legal counsel. This is a nightmare, considering my dad recently lost his job and only has his unemployment check to help make ends meet in Chicago.

My dad called up myself and my other siblings, seeing what we can offer. I knew my add was in deep trouble, because that's not his style-and know it was a major blow to his ego to call us up.

My predicament-I'm so beyond pissed at my mom, I don't know what financial help I can offer my dad, since we're trying to get ahead, not get further in debt. The lawyer will accept checks or credit card numbers, so that gives us the option of putting some of his retainer on our credit cards. Not ideal, but at least it wouldn't tap out our savings. My dad raised us-he may not have won Father of the Year awards, but damn it, he did what he could-was the breadwinner while my mom was a SAHM for 20+ years, not to say it wasn't what they both wanted, but damn it, why do this to each other? Ugh....

I spoke to R about this mess. We're going to look at our own numbers and see what we can afford to give. Honestly, I'd rather put my share of my dad's retainer on my own credit card and have him pay me back, than let R and I deal w/ this b.s. We're looking at a min of $750 each between myself and two of my younger siblings (the youngest is barely holding it together now, covering rent and his used car expenses), snce my dad thinks he can get $3000 from a side job.

I know my mom never saw a divorce coming after being msrried 30 years, and always being a SAHM, but still to do this? Its beyond unbelievable, and this has made me lose respect for my mom-ugh. I swear, this just gives me more reason to have some level of self sufficiency-I don't ever want the rug to be pulled out from underneath me like this.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holiday shopping

How I love to shop, especially after the holidays. I took the boys to Target today, in the hopes that Halloween stuff would be 75% off. I hit the jackpot! I got each of the boys a new costume for next year, including E. I found three race car driver costumes, and they were a steal at $6 each! I also bought the older boys a doctor costume, for $5 each; not sure if I'll bring those out for Christmas/Hanukkah, or wait until their respective birthdays. I found each boy a Halloween tshirt (matching, of course!) for next year, and found a cute one for me too. Each one was $1.25, you can't beat that! I bought art materials (1.24 each, they were geared for Halloween, but really could be used year round), 2 bags of Hershey kisses (69 cents each), a warm fleece throw (only $2.50!), and a Spiderman trick or treat/easter basket for Elijah for next year (1.99) to go along w/ his older brothers for next year. There's no difference between the ones I already had, and why spend $8 on one, if I can get away with spending a lot less. Considering how much we got for our dollars, I'm pleased with the outcome.
I do have more I want to post, but dinner and children are calling, I hope to post more tonight or tomorrow about our goals for the rest of the month.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Always on guard

Today R and I had a profound conversation, and it didn't start that way. We were talking about our going to Santa Maria to see his dad, and how I know he would really like to see him. In fact, we all would-both R's dad and his wife have yet to meet E and he's already almost a year old. Getting away-that would be nice-the last trip we took was for R's uncle's memorial service, and that whole trip was tinged with sadness. Anyways, we were talking about going and I commented on how I hoped he didn't mind me being so cautious with our money. I logically understand why I do it, but that doesn't always mean I like it. Heck, I'd love to just pick something up and not think okay, this is going to cost how much, or should we pay for it with cash, or credit, or is it going to haunt me months from now if I don't eat it, wear it, use it, etc. He looked at me and said, no I'm glad you are the way you are, it helps our family go so much further. Talk about validation. I love my husband.

We're on the fence about going to Santa Maria. We'll think about it over this week and make a decision. I told R we can forgo birthday meals out and other $ activites, and pool our resources for that trip. There's not much else to cut-we're already doing what we can, and I know its making a difference. We're not eating out, we're using the food we have at home. Waste is minimal (it happens), but we're human, we're learning all the time about how to do things better, more efficiently, and most importantly, not forgetting about living in the moment with our boys. That last one is sometimes the hardest when it comes to independance and temper tanutrums and who does what and who goes where.

So tonight I'm running off on a tanget, but sometimes I just need to clear my head. I was feeling a bit bogged down-hopefully this will help me stay on track.

Holiday musings

With the onset ot Halloween, comes the start of the holiday season at our home. November is a busy month of birthdays and Thanksgiving. We're already squared away for the boys birthdays, printing up and mailing invites this week, and I already have R's birthday present (a photobook created and purchased last month). We'll celebrate the birthday boys (R and the two younger boys) out at one meal-it depends on where R wants to go, and the onsluaght of freebies that have begun to come in the mail.

We've been talking about what we want to do for Thanksgiving this year. Since weWe've done it all from hosting it here, being home with a newborn, seeing R's dad down in Santa Maria, to once again being homw with a newborn. The question is, do we go down south to visit R's dad and his wife, stay home and host here, or go up to R's mom in Sacramento. If we stay here or go to R's mom, the cost is minimal. All we have to pay for is gas, and the rest of the visit is inexpensive (since we make everything ourselves). If we go to R's dad, we have the cost of a hotel, gas, eating out (Thanksgiving dinner and/or a couple of other meals). I found the hotel we normally stay at down south, it's affordable-$99 per night, comes with a free deluxe breakfast every morning, has a microwave and fridge in the room, and kids stay free. The question is, do we go? We know how to travel lightly, bring food, and have a bunch of free places we can go with the boys. At the least we'd spend one night, but have two very full days with his dad. At the most, we'd spend two nights, and take an extra day to do sighseeing as a family. Meals we can plan; breakfasts at the hotel, bring stuff to make lunches, and only have to pay for dinner for our famiy. R is going to talk to his dad and see if he wants to come here, all he'd have to pay is gas-the rest of the weekend we can take care of, since we'd eat at home, and find free things to do as a family. He's also going to talk to his mom about her plans.

This is definitely a time to put on our thinking caps, as we already know we're staying put for Christmas and New Years weeks. His family has plans to be with other parts of the family this year. My siblings are spending it with their signifigant others families, and my dad is staying on the East Coast (too expensive to fly back here).

I'm glad I'm thinking about this now, and not a couple of weeks from now, before everything gets crazier. It also helps to plan ahead so I know how much money to set aside for a hotel (it would come out of our fun/dining out money).
I'll update later once I know more.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sweet November!

Yay for November, it brings such a rush of emotions, all the events coming up between now and the end of the calendar year. I only have a few minutes to post this morning, so I'll update on our Oct goals and Nov goals later this weekend.
This weekend is shaping up to be a nice one. The boys were up at the crack of dawn, or before dawn, but everything was good to go-candy put away, clean coffee pot, and sweetrolls ready for the oven-yum! DH is watching the troops all day today while I head out to celebrate a friend's 32nd b-day. I think I'm more excited than the birthday girl-if only because she just told me she's pregnant for the 3rd time, and is going through the misery of being exhausted and nauseous all the time (and I so remember how that was w/ baby E!) Both her older boys and mine are within 6 months of each other (mine are the older ones) but her baby will be 18 months younger than E. She was on the fence for a long time to have another, and finally felt ready this summer, right when her son turned 2 1/2, and her older turned 4. I'm getting ready to part with some of my baby stuff, some that I never used with any of my boys. I'll probably give some to her, or some other moms that I know are expecting again (one for the 5th time, wow!) Anyways, I'm looking forward to the kid free time, and the girl time, and having my boobs to myself for the day-yay to all that!!!