Friday, April 29, 2011


(With the recent events of this week-this is about as far as I can type out w/o shaking in disbelief/outrage/sadness. Let it be said that Robert and I are okay, but that we're doing our best to support others through a terrible time)

There's some things I just can't stand-cowardly behavior. Yes, its one thing to be scared out of your mind-its another thing to be a coward. The defining line is when it affects other people, and breaks hearts and dreams. Age and wisdom come into play too-and as such maybe I'm being hard on her, but dang it she's 33 or 34, and supposedly intelligent. However, her recent actions speak otherwise. I can't go into details right now without getting super emotional, and can only pray for those involved.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


What a whirlwind weekend. We had my dad and MA in town to celebrate Easter with us; right before the divorce trial of my parents early next week. its been a weekend of emotions-shared over coffee, wine, walks, and late night talks. Its been decided that I go to court to testify as a rebuttal witness-not thrilled about that-but things I've seen and heard will help in the division of responsibility.

It was our seventh anniversary today. It was surreal waking up this morning; seven years ago it was my wedding day, and it was just Robert and I. Now its the six of us. We've had our share of ups and downs, and its been quite a journey. Every year seems to be better than the last-and we've become tighter knit than the year before. The only part I hated was how knowing my parents would have celebrated 35 years last month-so it was a tough pill, a tough moment to pass by-yet I know it's been just a date on a calendar for the past 5 years-maybe longer, but at least that long since there was love between those two people. At the same time, I know that its important for us to celebrate our marriage, because its ours (not my parents). We left the kids with my dad and went to dinner. Margaritas, good food, and each other. I couldn't have asked for a better time with my husband ♥

Talking with my father I see how Robert and I are truly doing things different from my parents-everything from the way we disagree to division of responsibility. I loved seeing my dad, or Zadie as the children call him, hold Rebecca-the misty look in eyes, when he didn't think anyone was looking -almost like he was remembering holding me as a baby. Seeing a picture of my mom and I, and then me holding Rebecca-that's a throat closing moment. Sigh.....

This week is sure to be an emotional one. I will need to rely on my inner strength and prayer to get through it. I did want to write about Easter, but that shall remain for another post. It's time to unwind and enjoy the rest of the evening before the busyness of tomorrow begins.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sping Break

Its been quite a staycation for Spring Break-its included a trip to see Grandma and Grandpa, a special trip to the beach, a lot of playtime outside riding bikes, and having friends come over. Its felt like a great break for me too; I escaped to H's home to watch Extreme Couponing and talk about our week. We had her and the kids over yesterday to play, and the kids were entertained by sidewalk chalk and their bikes. We dealt with Elijah possibly having the stomach flu to find out it was a raging ear infection. We even managed to get away for dinner at the steakhouse as a family thanks to a mystery shop that popped up.

There was a lot we couldn't do-but that was due to a sick child in the house. It was a bummer of sorts, but it was a reminder to take down time-and focus on our health and each other; away from the computer, away from the tv, and just nurture and take care of each other. I loved having Robert home this week; I think he was happy to spend it with us too.

It will be different come Monday with him going back to work; we've enjoyed leisurely breakfasts and lunches outside, dinner being taken care of at ease without worrying about completing homework and leaving for night school.

I'm totally looking forward to summer vacation already; no worries, no places we have to go, nothing major on our radar. It reminds me of the days when we had three little ones at home and no one was in school yet-the days were just for us. How I long for that (and will miss the taste of it that we got this week). For what its worth, Rebecca had no problem adjusting to the extra noise this week-she slept and ate, and played well-if anything having everyone home made it so she was worn out sooner than later-goes to show when its a full house, there's always something interesting going on.

The days are passing quickly. Our anniversary is in two days. Seven years married ♥ my life. ♥ my husband ♥ my noisy active boys and baby girl. I am one blessed lady :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dave Ramsey Live

Last night I was reading my blogs, the ones that I love to read about couponing and frugal living, living simply and crafting. My FPU instructor mentioned how she is going to see Dave Ramsey in September when he comes to CA. I was so happy for her-she's an awesome instructor-and to hear her story about her and her husband and their three kids doing the Dave Ramsey plan the first week of class, it was inspiring. So last night I was talking with Robert about it, and he was up for me going, even better, he was up for me and H going since he wasn't too comfortable leaving Rebecca alone somewhere else just yet. I told him I would talk it over with her, and when I went over to her home to watch Extreme Couponing (which, for the record, is not what I do) I asked her about it. Her eyes lit up-we decided we'd go! So excited, I bought the tickets now, and we'll either make it a long day trip or an overnight, depending on how everything is going as it gets closer to that date. LA is about 4 1/2 hours from here, so we could really do it easily-and taking her compact car, splitting the gas will be a breeze! I'm so excited, seeing Dave Ramsey live is just awesome. And folks, this is why I'm weird-but that's okay :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Frugal travel

Something I've learned from Dave Ramsey-the best part of a vacation is paying for it in cash (or debit). Either way-not having credit card bills looming in the future. Since changing our way of living, I have seen a definite upside. No bills. The stress of traveling with children is nothing compared to what it used to feel like paying for something with a credit card and worrying if we were going to have the funds to pay it in full by the next month's paycheck. This may seem like common sense to some-but when you see your parents pay for things on credit-and don't have a clue about how things get paid-then you understand how huge of a milestone this is for our family.

We've streamlined how we travel with children. We pack a couple of coolers with drinks and sandwiches. We bring breakfast food and snacks. Dinner we figure we'll eat out, but always keep our coupon binder handy, and look for local places. The internet is a useful tool-from finding a 3 1/2 star hotel (Holiday Inn Suites) on Priceline for the same cost as Motel 6, to finding local attractions that are off the beaten path.

This most recent trip was no exception. I wasn't panicky about the 4.17/gallon for gas (and spending $70 per fill up, that's saying a lot!) I wasn't worried about how much we would spend on eating out. I will admit that finding out our hotel room had a full kitchen upon arrival made planning for dinner a little easier. My main focus-on having the best possible time with my family. We had an amazing getaway as a family. We ate well, the kids had fun-and Robert and I had some alone time once all four children were asleep. We relaxed, and made memories that will last. With all the heartache in the world, it was nice to have some respite from it all. No worries, and no credit card bills that followed us home.

Train trip April 2011

On a warm, sunny day, we ventured from Fresno to Sacramento with Matthew's Cub Scout pack. Our plan was to do sightseeing and exploring, keeping in mind with young kids our plans could change in an instant. Since we had planned this prior to Rebecca's birth-and as it was, I thought Robert would be with me most the trip, I envisioned the trip happening a certain way. It was nothing like I expected; and in retrospect, I'm amazed by how well we managed to get around.

I had the children alone overnight, and managed to get all of us to the train station on time. It was crazy, but I managed-and getting on that train-was such a good feeling. I have worried about us not being able to do as much as a large family, let alone a large family with a baby-but the opposite is true. It may be slow going sometimes traveling with children, especially young children, but by traveling with kids, I see how joy and fun can come from something as simple as playing on the footsteps of the Capitol building.

The kids really had a great time. We were all grinning when a family with children approached us and started talking about cub scouts with us. One dad had his son give Matthew the Boy Scout handshake (which Matthew just learned). We met up with Robert for a picnic lunch, and the train ride home. It was no surprise to Robert or myself when I started talking about the next train trip we'll take this summer, possibly to Sacramento-or maybe down south. I knew once I accomplished this trip with the children, nothing would hold us back. Here are some images from that very long, adventurous day trip.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What do you say?

Big prayers going out to K's family. My jaw hit the ground-and my heart literally hurt when I read her post. Its strange how one minute I'm thinking about the Pinewood Derby this weekend, and our trip next week, and how everything was going to work out, and the next I'm giving the boys extra hugs and having cookies before dinner. I just wanted to wrap my arms around them tighter last night. :(

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Small town living

I love this song, and what it embodies for me. Sometimes I have these moments where I miss the Bay Area; it comes and goes, and lately its further and further apart. Living here in this house, in this small town -people know you. It weirded me out at first, sometimes it still does. However, along with the downside (gossip, mainly) is the huge upside. Living where people know each other, where everyone is connected to someone else in some way, and before you know it your circle of support has expanded. In my case, the circle of support is getting spun from nothing.

I went to a moms group today at a local church, the one where I'm taking Financial Peace University. I've been welcomed there from the start, and its nice to meet new, friendly faces. I've seen everyone from the woman who lived in the house I own now (which is such a trip, considering I met her when I first saw this home!) to people who are going to have children at the same schools the boys attend. I spoke to the leaders there today-one of whom I never met (because she was always in the nursery) about getting involved in leadership for next year. Leave it to me-someone who has only been there a couple of months to step up and ask what else can be done-its forever in my DNA to see what I can do and how I can get involved. I never know what the future holds, but I'm embracing change. I definitely feel like I'm being pulled/led towards something, and even though I'm not quite sure where yet, I know things happen for a reason. Let the doors open and the path unfold.


Financial Peace University met last night, and I was a bit reluctant to attend. It's not that I'm not gung-ho about DR, but right now-I'm stuck. I'm stuck because I don't know how to invest. I have this idea in my head about what I want our money to do, but don't know how to do it. Yet going there, hearing the lesson, talking with others, its always what I need. Someone I know who's also taking the course said it's like bible study. Truth be told, it was. It was just what I needed to hear. Its okay that I'm scared-its hard planning for the future. For so long its been living day to day, but to have a plan, a plan for retirement, thinking about where I want to be at 70 and where Robert's going to be at 70-its hard.

We did talk last night briefly about it, just to get the topic on the table. It turns out we're better than I thought we were-because Robert started his retirement savings at 33, and I'm starting mine now. at 31. While I'm freaked out about not having anything now for myself, it doesn't mean it will always be this way. Seeing the scenarios yesterday in class, it makes sense. I just need to get educated-and that's why I'm taking this course ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011


The past few days since the divorce hearings, my mind has been busy. Busy with my own kids, busy with trying to keep up with what mystery shops I had to complete, busy juggling Moms Club responsibilities. I had to shelve what questions I had, my emotions about it, just so I could focus on what I needed to. Yet at the same time, my thoughts and feelings were there. Shelved, but there. I talked to Robert about it on the ride home from Sacramento. It was a crazy busy day-and finally, I could talk to him while the kids were off with their friends.

The whole thing is a mess-but in the end-its not my mess. My parents will have to be adults and hash it out. Its unfortunate that my mom is the way she is-but there's definitely something not all there; but its out of my control. I have to remind myself that my marriage is my own-that I'm not repeating history. I wonder sometimes if I'm going to turn into her-the one that needs control, likes things in order to the nth degree, become unglued if plans change.

Saturday was a huge test-and I feel like at the end of the day, it was all okay-but it was quite a challenge. I thought I had it all figured out-had low expectations-yet even those were tested. It was a miracle we made it back to the train stop back home right in the nick of time, and I thought it was going to be a long, uncomfortable ride back home. That didn't happen-if anything it was more fun than the ride home. It goes to show how Robert and I are compatible-how we balance each other out-and how we work together as a team. I was acknowledged for facing challenges head on-and putting up with some crazy ideas. The kids saw us hashing out our differences-but not in a mean spirited, hurtful way. Instead of fuming all the way home, we communicated-and didn't let it boil over. Our focus was one and the same-the safety of our children and ourselves. All of this helps me see the path I'm taking is different from my parents. I could not control anything or anyone other than myself. I wish I could say the same for others-that they could see the same way I do. For life would be different, and perhaps a bit sweeter.

Its not easy to say that my mom is not a part of my life. It is hard when I hear my friends talk about taking the kids to see Grandma, or how their mom tries to impart their views on their life. Its sad that she's missed out on the pregnancies, the day to day life with children, welcoming a baby girl into my life. I am not proud of the situation-but I also cannot hide from what it is. She's mentally imbalanced-and for the sake of my family's wellbeing-its best that she's not part of it. Sad. I do have a better relationship with my dad-but its taken years to get to this point. I always look forward to his visits-and so do his grandchildren. He hears the stories of how Robert and I are always trying to work stuff out-but not in a negative way-just in the day to day life that it is having children, work, and school responsibilities. He gives credit where its due, but will also speak up when he disagrees. I'm looking forward to his trip out here in a couple of weeks; he has yet to meet Rebecca and I cannot wait to get some pictures of him with all the grandchildren.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mismatched socks

Life is all about the mismatched socks here. It used to be Robert and I. Socks never were a problem. Then we had Matthew. Easy enough, add his clothes to the mix. Then add Gabriel. Yeah, two kids, close in age, clothes started to get jumbled as did socks. Add Elijah-small socks for a younger brother. Now Rebecca-pink, purple, yellow-all teeny-tiny-yet I love seeing her toes instead of socks. And the socks, sit in a basket. Used for playtime, to tease brothers, bug me when they sit there in the basket too long. Yet, they sit there because I'm busy living life with four beautiful, healthy children, as it should be.

This weekend we ventured to a family festival at Fresno Pacific University. It was family centered-and it was such a good fit for our family. We listened to music, saw how brooms were made, also saw a quilt auction. Oh how I loved those handmade quilts. It really makes me want to make one for the children-one of these days.

Yesterday we went grocery shopping-all six of us. I'm never too sure of how good of an idea it is to grocery shop as a family-I hear the horror stories, the gimmies, the wants, the tears. We have that too-but we don't give in. Well, let me rephrase that, we do our best to show our kids how the money we have gets spent on food we need, and how by making certain things at home, and avoiding others, we are healthier. I also like them to see how much things cost, and eventually I want them to learn how its cheaper to eat at home too.

I know my kids would probably devour the go-gurts and frozen burritos in the store, yet I choose to get the unsweetened yogurt and add fresh fruit-or make our own bean and cheese burritos. It was definitely a stock up trip-spent most of our time in the bulk bin section this time. I didn't blink when the bill hit $60-yet I think Robert wondered what we spent money on. The comical thing is I know that's cheap-but we have a lot of food a home so the damage could have been far worse. My homemade pantry of bulk bins is looking good-I'm starting to see it come together, using the old coffee containers and glass jars for various ingredients. It's not something you'd see in a Martha Stewart magazine, but it works for me. I'll upload a picture-but to some degree I doubt anyone wants to see how I store food. I'm just proud of this skill I learned, it helps my family, so that's why I'm proud of it.

This week is a busy week. It will be nice to spend time outdoors now that the weather is improving-I also need to work on my runs too. I went for a long run on Saturday morning, and plan to do some extended walking today to keep my body going strong. I'm loving the effects of the exercise and healthy eating-between the two I think it made it easy to fit back into my pre-pregnancy shorts from a couple of years ago. I didn't wear them very much last year as I was pregnant with Rebecca-but its nice to wear them now.

So the children are calling, its time to go to school. Have a wonderful week everyone :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ready for the weekend

I'm ready to start this weekend-and just have to wait for the boys to get off from school. We'll hit up the park-its going to be a beautiful day. Thinking of surprising them with homemade smoothies-that's an awesome treat on a warm spring afternoon. The weekend will be fun-hit up the parks, have a picnic outside, work on our garden. The Just Between Friends sale is this weekend too-I sold many items a couple of weeks ago, so not sure how this one will pan out. Either way, having the space is nice and I've been able to make room for Rebecca's clothes.

Speaking of Rebecca's clothes-and actually, all my children-we have been blessed with very generous friends. This week, I received clothes for both Rebecca and Matthew (which will work their way down to Elijah), so my kids are set for a long time, clothes wise. I'm purposely buying my friends gift certificates as a thank you gesture-what they've saved me in money over the years-awesome :) I'm passing stuff on already from Elijah-to other friends. Baby stuff is going to get new owners too, as Rebecca gets bigger. She's feeling more solid these days, but is still petite. I wonder how her appointments will go this month-we shall see.

My financial hat will go on later this weekend, but for now-I'm just going to enjoy the warm spring weather with my crew.