Sunday, December 30, 2007

a new year

Well a new year is coming - and very soon!
I am having a difficult time deciding if I am excited or very nervous about this. I believe the next year will bring a lot of new things in our life. I am honestly not looking forward to many of these changes. I want to be happy about all of these changes. I want to view them as exciting new adventures. I am trying. I hope that I can feel this way and soon.
we'll see what the future holds though!

For now, I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2008!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I hope that each and everyone one of you are having a fabulous Christmas time with your family/friends/loved ones =)

Enjoy this wonderful time of year!

And ... of course, I wish you a grand 2008! That it is a year filled with much happiness, good health and lots of fun times! =)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Howdy all ...

Hello everyone.
I'm sorry I went MIA there for a while. Honestly, I'll probably be MIA for a bit longer, but just wanted to say hi to everyone ... and thanks for the e-mail/messages asking if everything is okay.
Things are okay, just busy and over-whelming and it was time to cut-back and hence this blog was on the list of things to cut back on for now.
I am hoping after the holidays to find more time and get back on here on a regular basis ... until then, have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the month of December! =)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sleep ...

It should come so easy, but it does not. Once again I was tossing and turning late into the night last night. I finally fell asleep a little after 4 am. That was after laying down, tossing and turning, getting back up, laying down tossing and turning, waking up my husband who had to try his "cure" for not being able to fall asleep (and yes, his cure $ex), more tossing and turning, and finally falling asleep.
Not being able to go to sleep is really and truly starting to piss me off beyond belief. It is so frustrating to be tired and yet not being able to sleep. Really, what is up with that? I don't know.
Before he fell asleep last night he begged me to go to see a sleep doctor. I'm pretty sure a sleep doctor isn't what I need, but who knows, maybe it is? Next week I should be getting a "natural" sleep aid that I am praying and hoping will work and help me out tremendously ...

Until then I am just one very tired momma who is awake FAR too much.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ramblings of an insomniac ...

My insomnia has come back with full force. It has brought me to tears. Also, my tooth infection is starting to flare up again. If this post sounds a bit like a tired, irritated, crazy woman is writing it, well, it's because that's just about how I'm feeling right now!

A bit ago I mentioned some problems my dd is having with the neighbor girls. Unfortunately, it seems that for the moment, she will need to distance herself from these girls. She has cried twice now because they tease her (most recently about her spelling). One of the girls, who was playing quite well with my dd before, now comes over to play and lets my daughter know the other girls talk about her behind her back (and no, I have no idea if it is true or neighbor-girl is lying to my daughter or what). I do know that my daughter has a broken heart and isn't sure what to do about it all. She wants to tell the girls how they are hurting her feelings. Honestly, I encouraged her to NOT do that. IMO, that will simply give them more fuel to tease her with. I told her that with a best friend or a good friend, you could do that, but I didn't think these girls were close enough to really listen to her heart. I feel bad, like I shouldn't have discouraged her, but honestly, I don't want them to tease her anymore either! And I don't think her explaining to them about how hurt she is will make it stop.

So, anyway, yesterday she couldn't sleep because she was upset about all of this. I felt bad. So, last night, as I layed in bed tossing and turning, I prayed that God would somehow help us out with this (which I understand might be a weird thing to pray for for some people, but my daughter's heart is hurting and I want to find a way to fix it so yes, I prayed about it!). I also prayed that somehow we could find other people to play with. The girls here are a bit older than her and they all go to the same school, church, extra-curriculars, and frankly, I just think my dd will always be the oddball out because of that (and also because they picked on another girl prior to us moving in and now she is in the little clique and my dd is the target). Anyway, today, I called an old friend who we have talked to once in, oh, 2ish years? And we weren't really close, but I knew they lived very close to us and we had an open invitation to call. Well, the mother and I ended up chatting for an hour or so! We have a play date set up for next week. And she told me about a homeschooling group that meets 3 blocks from my house. Not only was it awesome that she remembered me, that we had such a great conversation, that we are going to play over there, but we will now have an opportunity to meet 12 other families in our town because of the info she gave me. Seriously, I just had to send some thanks up to the Big Guy because really, I had goosebumps and felt like this one phone call was a HUGE answer to prayers.

My insomnia is awful bad right now. My chiro (who is also my angel for helping get my youngest daughter on her diet that is making life so much better for her) is going to put me on melatonin to help, but it's a pill that has some other things that will help. Trouble is that I can't pick it up for about 2 weeks. But I have some plain melatonin here that I will try and see if that helps. Speaking of our chiro, who I also like to call Awesome doctor who made my daughters life 1000 times better than it was prior, I found out today she will no longer be doctoring where we go. In fact, she is leaving the state completely because they laid her off. People, I teared up when she told me that. Ugh. I then had to tell her how much she has changed our lives and blah, blah, blah. And then she teared up and told me I wasn't allowed to cry. And I said, I don't sleep anymore an so I cry all the time and this was sad and I couldn't help it. M is quite sad to see her doctor leave as well. Next week will be our last visit with her and so I need to think of something to give her as a farewell gift because she honest to goodness changed our lives. And well, truthfully, I will probably leave the practice now too. It's 30 minutes away and we have one about 5 minutes from our house. I have been thinking about leaving because it's a decent chunk of time to go there, but I really liked her and wanted to stay with her because she is awesome. The other doctor there is pretty darn good too, but well, I don't have the emotional pull to him to drive that much. Blah. I hate good byes, even if it is just a doctor, but she honestly changed my life.

In other news, we've been blessed again. I have 10 dozen ears of corn in my garage right now waiting to be frozen. I'm given 2 dozen away for a friend to freeze and then I will begin working on my stash. After I blanch and freeze it all, I'm also giving some to granny and gramps (who won't be making the normal trek to Florida this winter) and I will probably have enough left over to give out to lots of other people too! I have also been giving out ears of corn to other people I know. My parents have another 15 dozen that they don't know what to do with and I'm so afraid it will go to waste so I want to single-handedly keep as much of it from the dump as possible. But again, I will have enough corn to see us through many many meals and frankly, that is just awesome IMO. And I am so grateful. I told the people at the farm this week that have and will single-handedly save me a LOT of money on groceries and just how thankful I am for that. And then I teared up again because I'm all freaking emotional these days.

Speaking of being blessed, I have a job! I can work from home. In my pajamas if I want or late at night when I suffer from insomnia! LOL! I will be working for The Motherhood, which even if they weren't going to be sending me a paycheck I would tell you is a WONDERFUL site and I love it. Although my paychecks will be small, they will be paychecks. That is wonderful. I can now feel like I contribute financially to our family and the tightness we are feeling will get a little bit less tight (although, we will still be very budgeted and still in a position to watch every single dollar we spend). But this is good news for us. And it's a step in the right direction. And I am so thankful and it's a website I would be active on even without the paycheck, and can you have a better job than one you enjoy so much you would do it for free? Nope! I don't really think so! =)

Anyway, that about sums up my life right now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In a funk ...

Again. :-(
I think I'm ready to just cut my entire mouth out at this point. I also think the medicine he's got me on is too much for me.
Unexpected bills came in today that will really really strain us. I know, I'm sort of a sissy girl, but I just cried when we sat down to figure it all out. We will make it, but well, the rest of October will mean spending absolutely as little as possible. Good thing we just stocked up on groceries over the weekend I guess. I think I could feed us the rest of the month and only buy milk and some fresh fruit/veggies. Which is a blessing, because I can not imagine the pain of wondering how to feed your family. Ugh. Just thinking that there are moms out there worried about that tonight really breaks my heart and makes me wish I was a millionaire just so I could give most of it away.
Tomorrow is a very busy day, and I'll be honest, I seriously wish I could just crawl into bed and sleep all day. My body is so work out. It is just craving sleep so badly right now. Which, obviously isn't helping my mood at all.
My husband assures me this will pass. That life will be tough for a bit, but it will get better. I have a feeling the selling of this house will happen though so we can have a bit more breathing room. And it does break my heart. I do know though, that this house is just a structure, and a home will be wherever we make it, but boy, it is hard of thinking of leaving.
And we are so blessed, that I don't want to come here and whine. Because I really am thankful for what we have. And I am thankful for what we have been giving (and even now I know that there will be some clothes coming for my kids that someone is graciously passing down to us). And I am grateful that my family is healthy.
I do try to hold onto all of that, but boy is it hard when you are looking at the budget and going "Okay, if I only drive when I absolutely have to, we can funnel 50 from gas towards that bill. And we're stocked up on groceries so next week let's slash the grocery budget in half and put the rest towards the bill. And the kids have enough jeans to make it until November, so we if do the winter shopping next month, the clothes budget can go towards the bill. And yeah, we were going to put x into savings, but that will all go towards the bill" well, it's hard and the reality of the financial picture is really hard to miss.
But as my dh said, we have food, we have clothes, and we are so very lucky for that. We are not going without. We are just going without more. We have enough to get by. And so, I'm trying to keep dh's words in my head and his spirit in my head right now
(on an interest note, last week he was the one who was saying we can't make it and I was being the cheerleader for him! I figure as long as we get bummed about it at different times, then we will survive this time!)
Anyway, that's what is on my mind tonight.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I NEED chocolate!

Ugh. I so need chocolate. Like 5 hours ago.
My tooth is infected again. I am on a stronger antibiotic this time. We attempted to finish the root canal on Wednesday. We didn't. I have to go back (hopefully) in 2 weeks to finish it. But all that work made all the pain come back. Yesterday it seemed tolerable enough (with the aid of some advil) but I knew we were headed for pain when I woke up this morning because of the pain. And it's not the tooth so much, as there's a cyst or something below the tooth - so it's actually below that tooth along the jaw line where the pain is. Not only that, but I can feel whatever is in there if I touch it - which stupidly enough I keep trying to feel it which makes it hurt more! Yes, I'm an idiot at times.
Aside from that dh has been gone a lot this week. The kids miss him. I miss him. He works so hard though so it's not like I'm mad he hasn't been around. I just miss him. We've hardly had a chance to talk much. Our longest conversation this week - was on the phone today.

Aside from all that whining, I was able to get my house pretty clean this week! It looks messy now, but that's just things out of place. Most surfaces have been scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, mopped, swept, washed, wiped, and just cleaned! That feels good. I've planned my meals for next week. Tomorrow I will go shopping and probably do a trip where we will bulk up on items. I've found I tend to do two weeks of bulk shopping and then 2 weeks of light shopping. And we are running out of all those things I bulked up on a few weeks ago!

Tomorrow I have to work! I haven't had a pay check since - well, I think since 6ish years ago? Crazy! Just a few hours in the evening for my parents selling tickets. The nice thing is that between crowds I can pull out some knitting. Definitely a perk for sure!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

So incredibly blessed!

Dh and I have been so incredibly blessed lately, it is amazing.
First of all, twice in the last two weeks we've been given almost a complete meal for free from my family's business. Sometimes they close without food being sold (hamburgers, hotdogs, brats) and twice they've give the leftovers to him. Since it's about a 15 minute drive, they are actually slightly warm when he brings them home! We merely pull out some chips and fruit from the fridge and eat dinner! Hotdogs and hamburgers may not seem like a big deal, but really, it is.
Then on Sunday night he brought home an entire box of apples for me to make applesauce with. I finally got around to doing it tonight. I had to toss about 25% of the apples because they were "seconds" and didn't feel like waiting until tonight to be messed with. The rest though, were still beautiful and I till can't figure out how they were considered seconds! I made enough applesauce to fill 12 1-pint jars up! Combine that with the 6 already in my freezer, and that should last us at least 4 months. And I have children who LOVE applesauce. This is an incredibly blessing for us.
Now, it gets even better! He was also given 14 ears of corn (that had been grilled already but not sold). So we cut off the kernels and froze it. I have enough corn for at least 4 dinners in my freezer now.
Honestly and truly, this is incredibly wonderful for us! The awesome thing, I can get my hands on another box of apples pretty much once a week until the end of October!
I am so incredibly thankful for these gifts.

Now, don't get me wrong ... because I don't want to leave anyone with the wrong impression. We would be able to put an adequate amount of food on the table without these gifts. But, regardless, this truly helps! Because we are trying to fix the mess we made of money over the course of this year. And we are at the point where every little dollar counts. And so this is tremendously wonderful!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Lately ...

I've been spending time going through all our digital pictures (which date back to 2001!) to delete all the blurry, heads missing, bad shots, etc, from the hard-drive. No need to store pictures I absolutely would never print up. Plus, I have a terrible habit of taking a series of 7 pictures in a row in the hopes of getting one good one.
I am not completely done and have already freed up a lot of space on the hard drive LOL!

Aside from the feeling of getting a little bit more organized around here, it's been an interesting trip down memory lane. I can't believe how little the girls look in those pictures! Little Momma was a newborn in some of them! We have a few of Little miss really young, but most pictures start around her 3rd birthday! She has changed so much and it really struck me how much she has "grown up." And even Little Man, who granted is only 21 months old now, but to see his newborn pictures ... It is so amazing looking back on them.

But I noticed a few things:
1. I have so many pictures of Little Momma laying down ... on the couch, on the floor, just laying and hanging. Not to say I don't have any pictures of her playing, but they are a small percentage of them. I have her laying and looking at books, I have her laying and holding dolls, I have her cuddling with blankets. She truly has changed the most of all my kids - you wouldn't know today that she had extensive therapy from about 18 months to 3 years old! And thank God for that truly. I am so glad how far she has come, and she had to work hard to get here and I am so thankful we are where we are today with her.

2. I have tons of pictures of the kids painting, exploring, playing dress-up, playing with rice and beans (yes, I have buckets of both for my children), of them helping me cook, of walks and parks and all sorts of fun things. But something has changed .... I don't do those things so much anymore with the kids. And that makes me feel sad truthfully. I don't know if moving into another house stopped some of it and then being sick while pregnant made some more of it stop and then having a very high maintenance child stopped the rest of it ... that's my guess. But it is time to get it back!

So I've been trying. I took the kids out last Saturday to a (free) event locally that the girls at least enjoyed. I pulled out the box of beans the other day and all three kids went crazy for them! Of course there were quite a few spills with Little man in the mix, but I didn't let that bother me! I am letting Little Man help me out more often (which is helping in two ways, I can actually accomplish housework and he's too busy "helping" me to whine about not getting my undivided attention 24/7). I have been playing blocks and barbies and trains and school with the kids. We go outside, we work together, we talk, we have more fun. We are still going in small steps but I am trying hard to get that back. And given what feels like an endless supplies of art stuff in our basement and the tight budget we are on right now, I have a feeling this is exactly the sorts of things I need to bring back before the winter weather really sets in and we are feeling housebound when the temperatures are in the teens for a week at a time!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Already starting ...

Today my 7 year old came to me pretty sad.
A few girls in the neighborhoods made fun of her clothes. They said her shirts were not "cool." They also teased her because they weren't bought at 2 stored that are apparently in around here. Furthermore, they laughed and guessed her clothes were bought at Target or Kohls.
I knew this day would be coming. And I feel her pain (I never shopped at the right stores growing up either). And it's killing me to know they are are already teasing her about this ... the girl is in second grade! Do kids really care about where the clothes they wear come from? Do other parents buy the clothes the children insist are "cool" without thinking about the cost or the message they are sending their children? Well, apparently kids that young do care about it.
And because dh and I don't believe in catering to what is cool and what is not, my dd will pay the price by having these kids make fun of her.

We did talk about it today. I told her what is on the inside is more important, but that it is sometimes hard to remember that when you are young and trying to be cool. I told her she is beautiful no matter where her clothes are bought. I told her to not let anyone make her feel any less pretty because of it. I gave her a big hug. I told her I was sorry that it was happening. I tried to make her feel better. I tried to alleviate some of her pain. She smiled when we were done. She told me she knew the inside was more important. But she told me it's not fun to be the "uncool" kid.

I can't fix this. And I'll admit ... there is a part of me that wants to run out to the "cool" stores and buy her a few shirts from there so that she can be like the others, but I won't do that. Maybe when the budget allows for it, or we are going just because it is a place to shop, we'll go to them. And maybe we'll buy something ... but I don't want to teach her at 7 to cave into peer pressure!

But folks, my heart hurts for her. And I hope this isn't going to happen often or anytime soon. Because I've been there. And it doesn't feel good. And it isn't easy to remember to judge someone by the inside when you are 12 and the other kids are laughing at you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

CGI

Right now the Clinton Global Initiative is happening in New York.
My friend Emily is there right now (and blogging about it here).
Today she shared the link so that we can watch it live via the web ... go check it out ... here.
I've been able to sneak in a bit between everything else going on here and wow - some amazing things going on there. Lots of good talking. Lots of good sharing. Lots of good ideas. Go, watch, listen, learn and maybe something will spark with you and you will be moved to do something!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I've been neglectful ...

of this little blog here.
Some days I am bursting with 1,001 things to tell you about, and other times, I'm silent - not having much to share.
Right now although I am silent, it feels as if 1,001 things are happening around here. Except I lack the words or the time or the motivation to come and share it all. Sometimes I need to come here and type everything out and other times I need to mull it over in my head for a while and then I'm ready to come type it all out.

We are in the midst of all these changes around here - which seem big to talk about and yet are small in the day to day routine of things. I suppose that's a good thing. Small changes in the routine are easier to incorporate, are easier to make habit and are easier to stick to. We are doing fabulous on our budget. We are spending wisely and "acting our wages" finally. Of course, to really do that well, we will probably be selling out house this spring. It leaves me with a bit of sadness. I like our house. I like our neighborhood. It will feel as if we just got settled and then we will have to move again! We'll see how that goes. I have also started to fall in love with housekeeping tasks and meal planning and grocery shopping and all that jazz - something I've never wanted to do before, much less actually enjoy it! DH was just replaces at his company (but thankfully not fired from it - right now he's training the replacement and will hopefully be moved to another spot in the company). It leaves me a little bit anxious though! What if they decide to fire him in a month? He isn't all that convinced that the other guy will even work out though so maybe he won't stay replaced for more than a few weeks!

My son is driving me nuts. He is just constantly challenging me, whining at me, wearing me out, driving me crazy, and pushing all my buttons - all at the ripe old age of 21 months old! Something has to give here. I am trying to readjust my parenting strategy with him. I'm trying to swoop in and redirect before we get to a temper tantrum point, but well, I'm not always successful with that! Today though he helped me make some applesauce which proved to be a good distraction for him and great fun for us as we watched him try to "sneak" bits of apple from the pot when I wasn't looking! But we're trying .. and I know miracles don't happen overnight.

My Little Momma is doing fabulously well on her diet. I keep waiting for it to stop working (I know, sort of sad) but it keeps on working well! So yeah for that! =)

I suppose I should also tell you that the scrapbooking the other night was FABULOUS. I am so glad I didn't cancel it - we had fun. I finally finished the book I have been working on. I got 3 embroidery orders. And I laughed. A lot. So that was good.

The parenting seminar I went to a few weeks ago was good as well - and my church has been doing a small group study that is more in-depth which I've gone to a few times (although we skipped on Sunday). It is good stuff. However, it is really for kids 3 and over - the things we talk about just don't translate to a tiny guy very well (i.e. we talk about having the child change their heart and taking breaks and being able to answer "What did you do wrong? Why was that wrong? What will you do next time?) Although these things are working well with my girls (ages 5 and 7), not so much with the 1 year old. Oh well. We'll get there with him. And hey, it is working with my girls and has lowered the amount of yelling a lot so I'm thankful for that.

Anyway, I think that pretty much covers all of life for the moment. And now I must go tend to the applesauce I am making and which is smelling so YUMMY!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In 20 hours ...

I will be hosting a scrapbooking gathering at my house.
This should excite me - I'll get together with some ladies, I'll get to scrapbook.

However, I am filled with terror and dread!

1. My entire house is a pigsty. Tomorrow somehow I will need to clean, sweep, mop, vaccuum, organize, finish laundry, teach the children, entertain the school and not lose my mind.

2. We have almost no food in the house, about 3 diapers left, no paper towels left. So I have to go to the grocery store. Which is usually a nightmare trip truthfully.

3. My mouth still hurts. I made it to the dentist today to find out in the spot that was hurting - an old filling leaked into the root (or something - I was only half listening), my body saw it as a foreign object and began to attack it. Oh, yeah, that sounds lovely. So we had to start a root canal today. It was not pleasant. I tell you, my mouth does not stay numb long. (This has been on-going since I can remember and also happens with topical numbing creams like lidocaine). They do some work, it starts to hurt, they stick me again, do some work, it starts to hurt, they stick me again. It never fails that we get to the almost done part and I grin and bear the pain instead of stopping to get numb again. And even though I do it by choice, it still sucks frankly.


Anyway, my mouth is still pretty sore and frankly shopping/cleaning/entertaining is not on my list of things I want to do. I will attempt to do it all anyway, because at the end of the evening, I will be glad that I had people over and that I could get that time to work on my scrapbook! But I will probably whine my way through it tomorrow LOL

That is all. Just wanted to get that out there and whine a little to the internet.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Do. Not. Procrastinate.

I am the QUEEN of procrastination. I have procrastinated on nearly everything at some point in my life. Every time I get something pretty close to the wire, I promise to not procrastinate next time. Apparently, I am procrastinating on putting that promise into action! But it seems that each time I am able to squeak by. And I have to say, sometimes the rush of trying to do things in a short time, well, sometimes it can feel good (in a weird way I guess). So far I haven't had anything really bad happen due to my procrastination.
Until this past week. Not only was I burned once by procrastinating, oh no, I was burned twice.
First, I sometimes I procrastinate on laundry - but eventually the cries of my family running out of underwear get me to do it. However, sometimes I put my son in cloth diapers, and sometimes I don't. Apparently last time I put him in cloth for a few days, I forgot and never did that load of laundry. I think the last time he wore cloth was a month ago? Maybe? I won't tell you about it - only that even after washing everything about 10 times, everything in that basket will be thrown away. Actually, if I had found them the night before garbage day, I would have tossed without washing. But since I found it almost right after the garbage was collected, I could not let it sit for another 6 days like that. Really, all I can say is, it was gross. And I'll leave it at that.

Second, when I had my teeth cleaned this fall I was warned about some cavities. A few on one side and a few on the other (yes, I get a lot of cavities and I've discussed it here before but it's just how it is). So I had the one side worked on and promised to come back to get the other side. Besides, I told myself, it's not like any of it hurts or anything. Until Thursday night that is. I was innocently brushing my teeth before bed. I then flossed and even used Listerine without problem. Laid down and approximately 43 seconds later pain was searing through the left bottom of my mouth. I got up, took a few Tylenol, and tried to go back to bed. Tried to suppress the tears, took a few more Tylenol and finally, about 3 hours later fell asleep. Now, the crazy thing is that when I woke up, it didn't hurt. I actually wondered if I dreamed it! But to be on the safe side, I phoned the dentist (hoping to get in the next day or two). Oh no, Mr. Dentist wasn't going to be in the office again until Tuesday. I was told to take ibuprofen next time and call back if the pain increased. So I went about my day and in the afternoon the pain started to come back - but nothing too bad. Until it got really bad and I popped 2 advil, sat on teh couch and just started to bawl! Yes, I bawl and I'm a wimp. Big Man stopped to buy some orajel on his way home. It helped a little bit - but then the advil kicked in and so we decided to go out to dinner (since it was my mommy's birthday). And it was good, until towards the end when it felt like someone walked by and stuck a knife through my tooth and gum. I went to the car (where I bawled some more) and waited for the rest of my family to finish. When we came home, Big Man called the dentist. And I now have an antibiotic in case it's infected and some vicodin to take. And it's helping, but there is still some pain there. And Tuesday feels like it is 4 months away.

So, well, if this won't teach me not to procrastinate, I'm pretty sure there is no hope for me on that subject!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11



Today marks the anniversary of what happened not all that long ago.
And thoughts are swirling around in my head. 9/11/01 is a day I will never forget. I didn't even know about it right away - nope. I was watching PBS kids with Little Miss then. And dh called me and told me he was leaving downtown Chicago (which actually, he is down there again today - kind of weird since he goes to Chicago about once a year for work). He told me to change the channel to find out what was going on - he couldn't even really explain to me what was going on, only that it was bad and a LOT of people were leaving Chicago so traffic was pretty bad.
I flipped the station and almost immediately burst into tears. I was so scared. And then the building fell. And all I could do was just sit there. It was awful. I called dh again, kind of hysterical and begged him to come home. He couldn't. His boss wanted everyone at work. And not only that, but they weren't allowed to watch the coverage at all (and yes, typing that today fills me with a sadness and anger - I wonder if they regret that decision now). I did not want to stay home alone. I was terrified something would happen in Chicago/near Chicago and I was just completely afraid to be home alone with my daughter. I called my mom. I was supposed to go to college classes. I didn't. It was an hour drive and I just couldn't make myself get in my car and go. Instead I went to my mom's house. And I sat there most of the day. We watched coverage. I was terrified and scared. Everything seemed so surreal to me.
I remember most of all, waking up the next day, needing to go to classes, needing to take my daughter to the sitter and struggling to figure out if that was safe to do or not. I did do it.
I will tell you right now, I did not directly know anyone who lost their life that day. I did not know anyone who was injured. (I did know a few people in the area who had crazy experiences to share with me) but something inside of me just couldn't handle all that was going on.
I ended up dropping out of two of my classes that semester. I couldn't focus on things for a while and I had a hard time leaving my daughter as many days I was supposed to. So I dropped some classes and was only on campus a few days a week.

Fast forward a year later .... and the first anniversary of 9/11 was approaching and I was getting ready to give birth to my second child. Because of how things were going with the pregnancy (meaning they weren't going quite as well as they should have) my midwife wanted to induce me. We decided 9/10 would be a great day to do it - but then she looked at me, very seriously and said "Will it be a problem if she is born on September 11?" I felt taken aback - Of course not! I responded. She was concerned the inducement could carry over to the 11th and wanted to prepare me for that possibility.
I went home, dh and I chuckled about it. And then told ourselves that if she was born on 9/11 that would be a beautiful thing - something good on a day that would seem so sad. We thought it might even be kind of nice if she waited to be born that day!
Well, she wasn't. She came on the 10th just as planned. And it was wonderful. Truly it was, but then I turned on the coverage of the memorial. And I sat in that bed, holding my new baby just bawling my eyes out. The pediatrician came in, turned off the tv (told me I was in no condition to be watching something so emotional), opened the windows, checked her out and told me to spend the morning bonding with my new baby.
I think that is how I spend each September 11th now - I know it's going on, it is in my heart, but I for all intents and purposes turn off the tv (meaning I don't really like to watch the stuff on TV nor do I really read about it) and go about life with the kids.

Today we are playing, doing school, we will run errands, and we try to just do what we do.
But in my heart and head, I am saying prayers. I am still mourning the loss of life, I am mourning what happened since then, I am mourning how that sense of safety feels like it went away. And I am also waiting in anticipation - of the next attack, of the next attempt. I'd like to think we can stop it from happening again. But that might be a little naive? I hope not, because I really do hope that we don't have something like that happen for a while ....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Reading the wrong blogs ...

Today, just by randomly browsing blogs, I came across three blogs that talked about Christians. And basically said all Christians are judgmental because all of them judged non-Christians harshly and thought anyone who wasn't a Christian must not have morals, must not be nice or good people, and should be avoided at all costs.
Then the preceded to talk about how they couldn't be friends with Christians because of those reasons.

And I thought to myself, well, aren't they doing the same thing they are accusing all Christians of doing? Furthermore, are all Christians really like that? My husband (who is not a Christian) would probably say no, not really. Especially since I am a Christian. I think he's pretty nice, pretty intelligent and has some pretty darn good morals. I thought he was nice enough to marry and even nice enough to have children with.

Most of the time, I could care less if a person is a Christian or not, just so long as they are nice and friendly. I am friends with Christians and non-Christians. I do not think that only believers are nice or that only believers have morals, nor do I shield my family from them.

Do I think I'm perfect? Nope. Not at all. Do I think anyone who says they are a Christian is perfect? Oh goodness, no way! Have I hurt people's feelings in the past? Yep, probably more times than I am aware of!

But, I have to admit it hurts to think that if I walked up to some people and said I was a Christian, chances are they would want nothing to do with me from that moment on. I admit, they probably have been cast aside or treated poorly by people in the past, but truthfully, haven't most of us been treated poorly at one time in our life? I can't cast out an entire group of people based on the actions of one, because really - there wouldn't be anyone left for me to talk to!

Anyway, I'm rambling. And just sharing. I don't have answers. And I don't want to debate with anyone about this. I simply want to share and blab about what is going through this head of mine.



Sunday, September 09, 2007

More tossing things ...

So last night, I went through a lot of my magazines - which of course I save because, well, I might need them one day. I looked through and decided which to keep (admittedly over half of them I still own) but I picked a lot to dump.
Then I (quickly) flipped through and ripped out any articles I wanted to save. I purposefully flipped quickly otherwise I might want to keep all the articles LOL!).
Actually, I was surprised by how few articles I kept.
As an extra incentive I teased my dh that he should pay me a quarter a magazine. He agreed, thinking he might owe me 1 or 2 dollars.
I got rid of:



44 magazines!


And kept just a small pile or articles:



I already had a binder started when I did something similar a few years ago, so I just added them into the binder. And we had a huge pile to add to the recycle bin today! LOL!

(cross posted at My 101 in 1001 List)

I also went through the bathroom shelf and got rid of about half of my lotions. Which is fine because some of those bottles I've had longer than I've been married. I know, it's so sad. I have a hard time letting go, but I have to admit, getting rid of things has been a very good thing, and I am enjoying it a lot!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Just in time ...

Tonight the whole family is going to a parenting seminar called Parenting is heart work.
Right now, it feels like hard work. And I'm ready to go and hide for a few days.
Mostly it's my 1 year old. This kid throws fits like I've never seen. He screams in the grocery store, temper tantrums in the library, fights me about everything, can't handle it if Thomas the Tank is not on TV (which it is not on most of the time). He stresses me out. He pushes all of my buttons on the same day - no, the same hour!
Don't get me wrong - I love the kid. He's got spunk. And when he's not fighting/crying/tantrumming he is really happy and it's hard to not laugh when you're playing with him. I just wish I could get more of that side of him.
Oh well. Tonight he will be in a nursery playing games, and I will hopefully be learning something useful to help me through these days! LOL!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

On a Mission ...

Today I have set out with a new mission for around the house.

I want to start a household binder. Nothing fancy, nothing store bought, just something I can make at home to keep our things together. I haven't thought much about how I will accomplish this quite yet, but I thing the tabs I want to include are:
menu's/recipes
grocery lists
Chores
Budget Info
Holiday/Birthday section
Important Phone Numbers
To do Lists
Kids Info
Medical Info

This will be first on my list of items to accomplish. After that, I think I want to do a School Binder, Home Binder, Garden Binder, Craft Binder and then make an "I'm Bored" binder for the kids.
We'll see ... I need to finish this first binder before I can think about these other things. I think the next few days will find me gathering recipes, shopping lists, creating spreadsheets, gathering all the important phone numbers into one place, typing lots of things and also trying to make it look pretty! That is just as important to me afterall! LOL!

Here's hoping if I spend a lot of time working on it now, it will get easier in the future. Afterall, come October, dh and I will both be working part-time and there is a chance I might also do some part-time work come November/December to help kick-start our savings and get the budget stuff under control! So if that does occur, I really want to get things a lot more organized around here!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Homeschooling: Week 6

This week marks our 6th week of school. I know, I know, we did start early. For most people this will be somewhere between the first to third week of school.
Anyway, you'd think with 5 weeks under our belt, we'd be in a good rhythm, a good schedule. Things would be going pretty smoothly and we'd have a flow to our days.
Well, you would be wrong. For the most part, Little Miss enjoys her work and has fun with it. She likes what we are reading and hasn't been complaining about the worksheet items we are doing either.
And yet, we can't get on a schedule. Things come up, we have to run errands, the phone rings, Little Man is crabby, etc, etc. This week I need to really focus on us getting into a good rhythm with things. I need to increase time spent outdoors and reading and decrease time spent with tv/computers/video games.
We will get there. I will say we are doing much better this year than last year, and for that I am very thankful!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day ...

Happy Labor Day everyone!

I leave you with this today:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Wah, wah, wah

I'm sitting here feeling pretty sorry about myself.
I know, it's dumb really, but it's the truth.

Anyway, tonight dh and I were both supposed to be home. We were supposed to hang out, talk, play games (on the computer) and mostly just enjoy each other's company. Frankly, we've not spent much time together this entire summer and it's really just seemed like too much away time.

But guess what? I'm here. Dh isn't.
I suppose I should mention he is working tonight. Which is better than say, ditching me to go out with the guys, or drinking our money away, or for me to say that I he's not here and I don't know where he is. I know I should be glad he's not here because he's working. And I know I should be glad that he works so hard to support my family and allow me to be a stay at home mom - and I am. I am very glad for all of that. But sometimes I am selfish and I WANT TIME WITH MY HUSBAND.

::sigh:: Off to find some chocolate, grab some knitting, and curl up in front of the tv for the night ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rhythm of life ...

Every time I think we are getting into a good rhythm in our life, it seems like something happens!
I suppose what I really need to learn is to be more flexible with things and accept changes and hiccups without worrying so much about it all. But it's true that's one thing I struggle with - if I have a plan for the day and it goes awry, it just makes me feel out of sorts.
I need to learn to handle that better and not let things bother me so much!

Today my son spent much time crying. It was in fact very hard on me. I'm sure it was rough on him as well, but really by the end of the night I needed to hear NO more crying or whining. I was done with it all. Thankfully Big Man put him to bed (4 different times no less) and I could finally breath and relax.

The next few days will be fun - I'll have 2 extra little ones to keep track of. Okay, they are 4, so not too little, but it will be fun to add another 2 girls into the mix and see what happens LOL! I think my girls will have a blast with it all honestly and I'm looking forward to everyone entertaining each other =) Of course, this is also helpful since well, at this point, every single dollar coming into this helps a lot so yeah for a few extra dollars coming in! I have an adult friend coming over tomorrow too (along with her little boy) and amidst all the chaos of children we will try to get some scrapbooking in. I hope that we will be a bit successful LOL!

Anyway, I am really going to try hard to not little things bother me so much from now on. I do believe my days will go smoother if I can just learn to relax a little bit more!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I will! I will!

Little Man has quickly turned into a typical toddler. His day is filled with shouts of "mine" or "my truck" he has even said to me while I am puttering on the computer "my puter!"
Ah yes, he thinks everything is his, everyone comes over to visit him and now he thinks he can do anything. All day long I here "I will!"
For instance if I say "I'm going to turn off the TV" he races ahead of me yelling "I will" and turns off the TV. If I say I'm going to go get his blanket he yells "I will" and gets it himself. If I ask Little Miss or Little Mama to do something, yep, he yells "I will" and tries to beat them to it.
Now this extends to other things. For instance, if I say "I have to make dinner now!" he will run to the kitchen shouting "I will!"
Silly Little Man I think. Now really, he can't make dinner. He's not even two! But he has no sense of that. He thinks he can do anything he wants to do. He knows no limits and no bounds. So he doesn't know how to cook? That doesn't matter. I think he believes once he gets in the kitchen the knowledge will come to him - or maybe he has faith that his father or I will help him with the things that he needs to do. That we will reach in, lend a helping hand and he will get the task done.
And really, is that such a bad outlook to have on life? To dream of reaching the stars, to accept help when you need it from others, to have faith that someone is out there wanting the best for you (in my case that would be my faith in God) - really, I think I should start taking lessons from him. I think my son is probably a pretty smart guy and I will try to mimic his enthusiasm for life.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Woo-hoo

Power is back up ...
Of course 2 hours till we are supposed to be hit by major storms again. Crossing my fingers they are wrong about it LOL!

It's raining ...

It's raining
It's pouring
The tornado sirens
are roaring

The lightning flashed
And the thunder crashed
And now we don't have power!



Yeah, yeah, power doesn't rhyme, but it's the truth!

Yesterday started out as any normal day.
But it all became quite crazy after surviving 2 tornado sirens, 2 powerful storms, and one normal storm - which knocked the power out!

But between neighbors checking on us, us checking on them, getting help, borrowing a generator, and feeling we did all we could do, dh and I finally managed to hop into bed at 2 am.

We woke up to the power still out, but my husband plugged in the internet service for me anyway!

So now with the generator, I don't have to worry about the basement flooding, the food going bad, and I can check weather and pass the time checking e-mails! LOL!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Trying to find time ...

to run in and do a quick update.
Thank you so much for good thoughts yesterday and some kind words.
When I wrote last night, things still had that raw feeling to them. Dh went to bed feeling defeated - and he is not typically a person who feels that way. I stayed up to write and was also feeling very defeated.
After writing and then laying on the couch to veg in front of the TV, a few good ideas did come to me as to how I can help earn a bit of income for my family - because even if it was just a bit here and there, we are at a point where every thing helps.
So I began to write an e-mail to my then slumbering husband to read at work today. As I typed that letter more ideas came to me. Each one was small, but when put together it could start to make an impact.
Today I sat down with my girls and I told them that things were tight and we will be making changes around here. We talked about no more fast food, how birthdays and Christmas would be smaller this year, we talked about spending our money wisely, we even talked about how we might have to cancel the cable (which would be big for them since 90% of their tv viewing is disney channel).
I am proud to say my girls said okay to everything I talked about. They asked what they could do to help us. My 7 year old offered to have a lemonade stand and to share money with the family. I was blown away by how they didn't get upset or sad but merely said okay and wanted a plan! (And slightly embarrassed that I didn't react more like them last night but only a little bit and of course I didn't give them the complete doomsday report either LOL!)
So we talked about the ways they could help us - by remembering to turn off lights and not waste water and to not let clean clothes get into the laundry pile because even if we did all that and saved 10 dollars a month on the electric bill that would be very nice.
I feel better today for several reasons -
1. I've had a decent night's rest. Life will go on, even if we have to make changes. Really, we will still have food, shelter clothing and I am SO grateful we don't have to worry about any of that. I mean compared to the rest of the world, that makes us so extremely lucky.
2. As I mentioned a few days ago, I really feel there are a lot of positive things going on my life right now - in my family's life. How quickly I forgot that for a while last night. But I remembered and maybe this is just a part of the bigger picture of all that is going on right now. Maybe in 10 years I will look back and laugh about how sad I was last night and how it turned out to be one of the best things to happen to us. I mean really, how great would that be? And even if it doesn't turn out to be one of the best things, it doesn't mean we can't survive. Perspective. I have to keep some perspective here (which also applies to point 1 because perspective will show that I am still luckier than most).
3. I have faith. I do believe there is a God up there who loves me and cares about me. I do believe that things will be okay. We might not be millionaires, but we can still be happy and do lots of great things in this world. And maybe God has a plan that I am not privy to yet, but it might turn out to be better than I can even imagine at this moment.
4. I have lots of good friends who will be there for me!
For instance, Kris, when you said
Dear Hubby and I went thru a similar time back when I was pregnant with our son. We had to sell our home to stay 'above water'. It was such a hard thing to do, such a difficult time in our lives, but we survived and we look back on it now as a time of very valuable Life Lessons that we learned because of it. We were around 25/26 at the time. It's not the end of the world. As you say, a house is a house. HOME is wherever you are together as a family. I will certainly pray the Lord gives you peace in all this. Just remember, this too shall pass. You won't be stuck in this Valley forever.

I remember you talking about times you've been down and things have worked out. I'm so glad you are there to share these things with me. Because I can take comfort that one, I'm not the first (and I know I won't be the last person) with these struggles. And two, you made it through it all and if going through it will make as wonderful a person as you, then it's worth it! =)

And Ornery's Wife,
A new "lurker" here, and I have enjoyed reading your blog. As a fellow believer, I urge you to remember the following things about our Father

Thank you for your reminder of those things. You are right! And stop lurking! LOL! Comment more often =)

And Sallie, thank you too!
We wanted to pay off our debt before we bought a house so we used this calculator to give us an idea of what to do. It was helpful for us
What a wonderful feeling to be debt free! I hope I'm there with you soon LOL!!


Dh and I haven't had a chance to talk much today, but we did share a few words. He has a plan. He is running a side business. We have personally loaned the business most of the money it is using to run. The business runs from about April-November. He will aggressively try to market it in order to sell it, or come April he will liquidate the business and pay us back as much as we loaned as possible. He is set on doing this. I am feeling torn.
On one hand - doing that will give us some savings and might be enough to pay off our second mortgage. Although it really is a small payment each month, that would be one less payment to make each month. Also I will get him back over the summer. The business gives us a bit of income each year and gives us some tax write-offs (all legally I might add) but I'm not sure the money is equal to the time dh puts into it. And truthfully I have been ready for him to sell it for about a year now!
But I feel sad for him. He worked so hard to get this business going. He has put so much time, money and energy into it. I am so proud of what he has accomplished. He started this business when we were in a similar position - we needed more money to survive and so he did this to get us another income. And I appreciate it so much. And he has so much time and energy invested into it. I'll be sad that he has to lose that.

But this makes me love and appreciate my husband even more. Because I woke up ready to move. Don't get me wrong, I was sad about it - but I'll do it if I need to, you know? But my guy, my great guy, decided to give up his little business instead of moving the whole family. And I know it was hard for him to decide to do that, but I appreciate it. And I know our kids will appreciate it as well.

Anyway, on top of all of that, something else very exciting happened today. Something that only helped me to remember that there is a plan out there. That things will be okay. And I'm actually happy and excited about it.

No matter what happens, I am going to work hard to keep my attitude in check. Things will happen. Afterall, we are human. Things happen - both good and bad. This is just another part of our journey through life!

Edited to add:
After I posted this, I read this over at Shalee's Diner. Yes. I needed that read today! And you should read it too! =)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I think I might be sick ...

Dh and I went over the budget tonight. I mean we really went over it and dissected it and crunched numbers.
It is not a pretty picture at all. In fact, things look positively awful. Something has to give soon or else.
I am so terribly upset and sad right now I can't believe it.

And I feel pretty damn stupid for not seeing what was coming sooner - as in before we decided to buy a house. Really, someone needs to come in here and ask me what the hell we were thinking when we did this. And why, please tell me why, were we approved for this loan? Actually, we were proved for a much larger loan - really? I can't even imagine right now what we would have done with an even larger loan.

Anyway, all that aside. I'm kind of pretty sure that we might have to in fact sell this house and move. Which leaves me so torn. I know, I know, it's just a house. We can't take it with us. But I love my house and I love my neighborhood, and the kids are so happy here and when we bought the house I was just filled with a feeling that was the house for us.

Ugh. I guess the good news in all of this is we are figuring all of this out before things got really bad (as in lots of debt or losing the house or whatever). The good news is that a house is a house - as long as my family is in it we can make it through. We theoretically could stay in this house. However, to do it without going further into debt each month, we would have to: cancel our cable, cancel the landline, spend nothing on entertainment, hobbies or fun. We'd have to drive my van as little as possible (essentially pretend we only had one vehicle except for very important things), we'd have to become VERY good bargain shoppers and pretty much not save money at all each month. So basically, we'd have this great house but nothing else. Well, frankly, if that is what it takes to stay here, I don't want to stay here. I want to have fun in my life. I want my kids to have fun. I'm not saying I want to vacation in Europe twice a year, but people, I need some money to spend on fun, not needed items.

Of course, as my hubby told me tonight, we can't make any rash decisions. We need to really take a week and make sure we have all the info we need to make any decisions at all. He also said to give him a few days to make a plan. Okay. Unless he has a secret stash somewhere, well, I'm not sure what sort of plan he might come up with! LOL!

Anyway, we are walking a tough path here for a while. I know, I just know it will all work out. I also know that it won't be easy.

So blessed ...

I've been feeling extremely blessed lately - which is great but has left me wondering why me? and well now what?
It seems that opportunities are just falling at dh's and my feet. It's also very strange. And I can't help but wondering why me? why us? where is it all coming from?
See, I look around and sometimes wonder if all these opportunities and good things wouldn't be better for someone else to get? Maybe someone else could take them farther and do more with them then me. Not that I think I'm a terrible person, but I know there are people out there who are smarter than me, wiser than me, have more experience than me, and do a lot more than I do! And I wonder if there opportunities made a wrong turn some where and ended up at my door! Is that weird of me or what?

I am also left to wonder well now what? What do I do with all these opportunities? Well, I am following up on each and every one of them! They have all been so great and things that make me feel all excited and happy and wonderful inside! I feel like I'm being given the ability to change my life in so many grand and positive ways here folks. All of it is almost over-whelming! Tonight dh and I started the FPU classes I won not that long ago. Over the weekend I was asked to teach knitting classes this winter (it's almost a fluke how that happened, maybe I'll explain another day). I feel like I've had some changes in my heart lately and am really learning some valuable life lessons here (especially with my whole learning to live with less thing going on and the Bible study I am participating in).

It's almost as if I am caught up in the perfect storm, but it's not a storm so much as it's all sunshine and butterflies and laughter and happiness. And so I'm really thinking and searching and praying about what comes next? Because I hope there is something next. I hope it's something fun and exciting and challenging. I hope it's something I can do to give back and/or pay it forward. I hope that maybe all of this is going on right now to prepare me for something I can do to make a difference in this world. Because, really, how amazing would that be?

And really, when it comes down to it, what I am really hoping is that all this goodness and opportunity is not being wasted on me. I just don't want to waste it and throw it all away. Although I am quite determined to not let that happen.

But I feel like there is a part of me, holding my breath, just waiting to see what awesome things will follow everything going on right now. So I have been doing a lot of praying lately about this. Just praying that my heart is open, my eyes are open, and my ears are open. And that somehow I can give back in a positive way and do something good for others. And that I won't waste all that is going on right now. Because it just feels like there is something around the bend, something exciting and wonderful and I want to be prepared for it!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cost of homeschooling?

Today our local paper ran an article about homeschooling. You can read it here.

Just a little blurb:

“Home schooling is far more costly,” Janik says, adding, “As long as the government stays off my back, I’m happy with it.”

Home-schooler parents pay for complete curriculums for each student. At Heritage, the parents also pay the workshop teachers. And just because a kid is schooling at home doesn’t mean he doesn’t need pencils, paper, a calculator, books, a computer and the usual list of supplies.

It adds up.

Just for Janik’s six kids, including the 3-year-old twins who take only two preschool classes each, the cost of teaching her kids at home and through the one-day-a-week instruction at the workshops is about seven grand a year, she says.

“Home schooling families that do not choose to use a co-op have less expense, but probably spend money in private lessons or park district-sponsored classes such as gym and swim at the Rec Center in Elgin,” Janik says in an e-mail. “There are many programs available to home schoolers, but it all costs money that is over and above what we pay in taxes.”.

Now, I don't keep track (yet but will start now) of costs of schooling my children at home, but I am pretty sure we don't spend 1,150.00 a year to do it either.
Now, I do spend money at the park district - but my kids would take classes there homeschooled or not. So I don't see that as a homeschooling cost so much as I see it as a parenting cost (if that makes sense). My oldest was in a co-op the last three years (however, we will not be in one this year). The first year we paid 200 as she took one class for the year. The last two years we paid 600 for three classes she participated in. As far as curriculum, well, most of it I buy used. The math program we are using I bought off of e-bay 3 years ago for 110.00. It is for preschool through 6th grade math. A lot of our reading books I bought used from other homeschooling moms.
So far this year, I spent 20.00 in purchasing items and we will be doing no co-ops. We have, however, already checked out more books from the library than I can keep track of. I plan on spending about 100-200 dollars more. [Which means, even if we used the co-op, the cost to homeschool my oldest would be about 800-900 dollars.] My 4 year old will be doing some activities. Most books are things her sister used or workbook type things people have given us. Just for fun, I'll say I'm going to spend 100 dollars to do "preschool" with her.
I did buy some new folders/notebooks/etc this year. I spent about 30.00 on them with all the sales going on, that 30.00 went a long way as well.
I am going to guess that we will still need to buy some miscellaneous arts, crafts, handiwork supplies and that might be 100.00 (again, I'm going high here on my estimates).
For fun, I'm going to pretend that I might have forgotten something and might have to spend another 100.00.
That puts the high end of the estimates at 550.00 to do 2nd grade and preschool with my girls.
If I pretend that my 7 year old was taking co-op classes and for fun, I'll pretend to let my 4 year old to take one class as if we stayed she would have been eligible. That would add an addition 1000.00 and so I'd pay 1550.00 for two students this year MOST.

I do, however, realize that as my oldest gets higher up, we will be spending more money on her. But I also know that books I have already bought for her to use, will not cost anything when her sister and brother begin to use them.

It might be more than fees the public school parents pay (although a relative of mine just paid 200 in fees, another 205 in athletic fees, 300 for the rental fee for her high schooler's books, and then lunch fees, gym uniforms, etc - I think we aren't paying a whole lot more than some people in the Chicago suburbs are truthfully) but I don't think it's too expensive. Private schools around us would cost a lot more per year per child!

If you homeschool and don't mind sharing, how much do you think you will spend this year homeschooling with your children?

Go read!

This has to be one of the neatest blog posts I've read in a while.
Rita created a post with lots of links to other blogs, but it's written in such an interesting way.
Anyway, go here and read!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Waiting ...

There might be a phone call coming in tonight that might contain some exciting information.
And so I'm pacing the house, waiting for the phone to ring.
Now, our phone hardly ever rings. Of course, we've had 2 phone calls tonight already! LOL! Every time I hear the ring I jump about a mile high. I think my dh things it's a bit funny, and really, it is.
Here's hoping the phone call I am waiting for comes soon!

Update: It's now quarter after nine. The phone call didn't come. I'll admit I'm a bit bummed. Hopefully the call will just come later. Or I'll get an e-mail instead!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

On a roll over here ...

Over here at the skipping house, we are on a roll with this whole "clean out the clutter" campaign that I am running.
Today we tackled the toys. Now, we just did the toys in April, but it has been clear to dh and I that we needed to do more in the toy area. Mostly because we just feel like in general our kids have too many things and secondly between now and December 25 we will have a birthday for all 3 of our kids and Christmas to deal with. Our families are so extremely generous - which we are grateful for, but sometimes I wish they would scale back as well. My kids are given so many toys. They can't possibly play with them all. I'd rather have money for the college fund or really, I'd just rather they spent time with them. Wouldn't that be the nicest gift of all - a trip to the movies, or taking them to the park. My kids are simple - they don't need much truthfully. I think they would rather have time/attention over things. The trouble is now my kids are used to getting a ton of things and they know which relative to ask for all the things from. They are smart. They see advertising and think that they want them right then.
Anyway, we did such a good job today! I am extremely proud of my girls. We took 5 boxes of toys and got it down to 2 1/2. We emptied out a small bookcase and left a bit of space in the another bookcase as well.
Interestingly enough, when we got towards the end of the sort, my 7 year old out of the blue shouted "Oh no!" I thought maybe she was missing a toy, but no. She told me I didn't take pictures when we started and what in the world would I share on my blog! LOL! I laughed so hard when she said that, and so at the end, we pulled out the camera to show you our work:

The two boxes of kept toys (okay, so they are a bit overflowing - so were 3 of the original 5 we started with LOL!)


The first bookcase. All 4 shelves were packed with books earlier. Now, one shelf is empty and two shelves have spare room!


The other two bookcases. One is completely empty now! Woo-hoo! And the other one looks a lot more organized than when we started.


These are the toys I kept for Little Man. This basket was not completely empty when we started but I knew I wanted to keep what I kept for him to fit in this basket and it does. Very nice =)


Here is what we decided to donate:


We also had one bag of garbage to throw away.

Now, we didn't go though anything in the girls' room yet. So we still need to do that. And we could probably get rid of a few more books if I pushed them, but after all they did earlier today, I don't want to push them.

This week I will begin to go through my items and starting to part with some of them. ::sigh:: If I can do it as well as my girls did their work today then it will all turn out wonderful in the end!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First steps ..

Monday I wrote about learning to live with less. I even said I was going to get rid of things in my house.
We started today - the entire family (well, minus the little guy). We went through our videos. They now all fit into one spot. So when we want to watch a movie, we can see all that own at one glance.



(well, the bottom shelf might have to be moved below because the little guy thinks the movies there are now toys, but I'm hoping after a few days he'll lose interest and stop trying to open them all up! But, I won't have to move them because they don't all fit and that's exciting!) I would like to point out, there is a bit of room there to grow. We could acquire a few more videos and fit them in nicely.

I should have taken before pictures, but I didn't think about it. Needless to say this cabinet:

was full of videos before. The few in there now are blank tapes to be recorded on or homemade movies we don't want the kids getting into by accident. Both shelves had too many movies on them and they were all kind of thrown in there.

Here is the pile of movies that will be going to good will soon (and in case you are wondering why they look oh so neat, well, that was dh's way to "stack" them up. I think that was his way to toss them in a pile LOL!)



The kids did a good job of really picking movies to toss! And they had to both agree to toss them for them to end up in the pile, but I was proud of the girls. They got rid of the right amount.

I do think that this was a good item to start with. One because the whole family was involved. Two because after we were done it was nice to step back and just see it all so nice, in one spot, with no digging involved to find movies anymore. I mean, really, it just felt good! And now I have an empty cabinet in the house - which is completely nice because we've been trying to find a nice place to keep our library books. I'm pretty sure we found it tonight!

Anyway, that's my first step. Things that need to be done next:
kids clothes
kids toys
kids books
adult books
my fabric stash
my yarn stash
kitchen items
magazines
craft supplies
linens

Here's hoping we can get it done!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Recalls ...

So there was another recall issued today for toys.
This is the third recall that has personally affected us this year (which seems odd since I think until this point we've only been affected by 1 recall in about 8 years!).

Anyway, the recall sucks. And it's lead again. And it's magnets again. And I had to take away toys that are played with almost on a daily basis from my girls. ::sigh::

And everywhere I look I keep reading why don't these companies just have the toys made in the good old USA where standards are (apparently) higher and the toys would then be (apparently) safer for our children.

I would like to say that I am pretty sure there have been recalls in the past that affected things made in the good old US of A. But that aside, I'm pretty sure I can tell you why these toys are coming to us from other places (mostly places that are not as developed/industrialized as the US). It's all about money.

Really, I truly in my heart believe this.

The US has a pretty decent minimum wage (despite the fact that people constantly lobby to get it higher saying it's not good enough for Americans). But if you compare our minimum wage to some other countries, you will see, even those making minimum wage are making a TON of money! And if the purchase cost of the toys were based on people making that minimum wage to make them, my guess is, most kids would own fewer toys and parents would moan and complain about how expensive toys are these days. I think this applies to most things sold here - not just toys.

We want as much as we can get for as little money as possible. Wouldn't a lot of people be in for a shock if all of a sudden product prices jumped up because they were made in the USA instead of some little old factory on the other side of the world that didn't have to provide health insurance, lunch breaks, fair wages, and other such things we get here. We would all freak. Wal-mart would probably shut down - because frankly, people want 3 shirts for 10 dollars! Not 1 shirt for 20.

I get trying to protect our children. I understand how frustrating it is to think our kids have dangerous toys in their hands and then having to take them away from them. I'm doing it too.
But I'm not really sure Americans are ready to stop using places like China to make our products. We are too cheap. We like low prices. We like good discounts. We shop at stores that promise to sell us things are super-low prices. And we get all excited at how little we paid for something! And so, we buy two of them, or three of them. And soon we have a houseful of things that we probably don't need.

Anyway, just my 2 cents on the topic!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Learning to live with less ...

This is a lesson I think I need to learn. And well, I'm going to learn it very quickly! However, I might be kicking and screaming a bit while learning it.
I am the type of person who wants more - more things, more money, better cable packages, more toys for the kids, more clothes for everyone, more yarn, more fabric, more living space, more time, more, more, more. And I have to wonder, when will it end? When can I sit back and be content with all that I have? Will I ever reach a point where I say "Wow. I have enough. I'm content." I'm gonna guess the answer is no. Because if I was able to sit back and feel that, I would have done it a long time ago.
I look around my house. We have stuff everywhere! We can't even put it all away there is so much of it! Really, it's sad. I have tons of stuff, my kids have tons of stuff, the kitchen is packed, the bedrooms are packed, the basement is packed, even the laundry room is full of stuff! Honestly, it's disgusting. And it's distracting.
I think being surrounded by so much tricks my mind into thinking I need more. And the truth is, if we had less things, that would mean less clutter, and then I think I would feel more content and relaxed.
But, on the other hand, it's really hard! ::said in my best whining voice!::
I like all my stuff. I use some of it a lot. I use most of it often enough and some of it, I just might need one day!
I read recently that kids really only need 10 toys (and if I remember the blog I will link back). My kids probably have 10 times 10 toys each. Ugh.
And as we face a cash flow shortage, the buying, the spending, the constant getting more will have to end. And it will be hard. I'm also thinking, really, not only do we need to not get more but maybe get rid of some things we already have. (yes, it hurt to type that. because I like my stuff and I don't want to get rid of it! wah!)
::sigh:: I think it's what needs to be done though. Because we need to learn to appreciate what we have instead of always desiring more. And right now, there is just too much here to really appreciate what we have. It will be hard. I will drag my feet. I probably will take too much time picking what to keep and what to say good-bye too, but I think in the end it will be worth it.
And I do wonder if the money crunch is to force us to do this. (Well, by us I mean me. My dh could survive on very little and thinks I keep too much anyway. My girls are definitely taking after me though!) Not that I am going to enjoy budgeting and spending wisely, but hey, I gotta find the lesson in it. It makes the sting feel a little less painful.

With that in mind, look for updates on me actually following through with this.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

God is good!

Yeah, yeah, I know. Some will read the title and shake their heads up and down in agreement and others might read it and do a little eye roll, but really, God is good.
So when I prayed the other night and felt God talked to me through the radio. And I felt awesome after that conversation. The rest of the week has gone along fantastically - it has felt like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, there is a spring in my step, I've been less worried about everything because I've just believed no matter what we will survive (not that everything will be perfect along the way, but we will survive).
Today I've had not one, but two answers to prayer! Now really, I just might have to go buy a lotto ticket or something tonight LOL!
No, first of all, I've been struggling to parent my oldest child. Who is 7 going on 17 with the attitude of hers. I have been lost in dealing with it. Sometimes I just cringe at the things that come out of her mouth, how she "jokes" all the time (despite the fact that no one around her is laughing at all and usually people are mad or sad due to hurt feelings), just this cocky attitude she has so much of the time and how it completely frustrating me. And most days, I really want to just slap her across the face for some of what she says. I don't slap her though. I usually start to yell at her and send her to her room - which is hardly helping at all. And I'm at a loss.
Today the church announced they are hosting a parenting seminar next month entitled "Cooperation, consequences and keeping your sanity." Um, yes, sounds like exactly what I need LOL! So tomorrow I will be signing up dh and I.
Secondly, I have mentioned the financial struggles we are having (basically we have a lot of material things around us but not a lot of money. And although we like all our things we'd like to keep all our things and not have the bank take our house away!). Today I found out that I won this contest over at Hyperactive Lu. It's for a Financial Peace University Membership Kit! The other day I said
And then I started moving to the point that maybe I was expecting too much from God. Let's face it. Chances of me getting a check tomorrow for about 10,000 dollars is pretty slim (not that I don't think God could do that) but I'm sure dh and I will weather this latest round of having to really control spending and my guess is when it is all said and done, we won't lose our house or lose our ability to feed the family so really, with that set, well, the extras we can live without.

And although I didn't get a check today for 10,000 dollars, well, the truth is, that it feels like I did get that check! It is just so wonderful. I can't believe it ... earlier this week I was in tears - so sad and down and just feeling completely overwhelmed and beaten and ready to just give up. And today, today, I feel on-top of the world! The diet is going well, I have a wonderful family that I love (even with some of the attitude problems we face LOL!). Rough days are going to come again. I will be sad and in tears some day. But it will be okay. I know I can cry, get the tears out, then move on with what needs to be done. Because sitting around crying and whining, well, yeah, doesn't do much to help out now does it?

As if we needed more proof ...

Things have been going along very nicely with my 4 year old and her new diet.
And dh and I both convinced we have finally hit the nail on the head with her digestion issues.
And to add more proof to that, this morning, on accident, dh gave her milk - which is on her no-no list - and wouldn't you know it, this afternoon we had an issue (albeit a small one, but it was there). And in my mind it only goes to reinforce the notion that diet is, and really probably always will be, an issue for her.
But she is loving her new diet really. The entire family has fallen in love with quinoa. Really, you should try it. It is awesome. Tomorrow we are even going to try a cold quinoa cereal recipe I dug up on-line (if it's good I will share it!).
Tonight we had chicken - we dipped half of it in bisquix and half the chicken in brown rice flour for my 4 year old and she really liked it! Then we made ice cream with our new ice cream maker. Seriously, it was DELICIOUS! The entire family had some and we all wanted more LOL! Even if no one in your family has dairy issues, you should try it. And it's not even made with sugar and it still tastes good. Really, does it get any better?

Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream
non-dairy, naturally sweetened

makes 2 quarts

  • 1-1/2 cups cold unsweetened raw nut milk (such as almond, hazelnut or cashew)*
  • 3 cups cold coconut milk (not light)
  • 3/4 cup raw agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: shaved & unsweetened dark chocolate; toasted, unsweetened coconut; finely chopped nuts; small brownie chunks; a multitude of other possibilities

Combine all ingredients (except add-ins) in blender. Blend thoroughly. Chill in the freezer to make sure it is all quite cold.

Add to ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s directions for churning. Add the add-ins during the last few minutes of churning.

For soft serve ice cream, eat immediately. For harder ice cream, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for several hours to a day, depending on degree of hardness desired.

*My ice cream maker only makes 1.5 L, so next time I will cut the recipe in half. We used unsweetened almond milk (which I bought at Whole Foods along with the Agave syrup). We ate it right out of the ice cream maker - we could have frozen it a bit more but we were all anxious to try it LOL!


(the recipe came from Such Treasures and can be found here)

Tomorrow will be M's first real test with this diet. They give juice and snacks at Sunday School. We will be bringing her a drink (rice milk which they do sell in the juice box containers) and some snack (I'll figure out in the am) to eat. So far she hasn't minded any substitutions, but I imagine when she's watching a bunch of kids get something different, it might bother her a bit. Then again, maybe not. She's been a champ with it all so far and dh says it seems to him she understands she has to have a special diet to make her feel good inside. She hasn't mentioned anything to us, but we are assuming she might notice she is feeling different but she never did complain of stomach aches before or anything like that so who knows!

Anyway, 3 more weeks on the very restricted diet and then we'll reintroduce the banned foods slowly and see what happens with her. My money was on wheat before, but after today I'm thinking maybe diary is the culprit or it's both of them that were causing some issues. We'll have more of an idea in a month. And I am so thankful that we went and saw this chiro and she suggested these food allergies/sensitivities. And I'm so very thankful it is all working!

And next time, I promise to talk about something other than my middle daughter! Although I might be sharing some more tasty recipes! =)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I <3 Whole Foods

And my 4 year old does as well - although she doesn't know it.
I found there tonight a bread that she can eat - yeah! I found a cookie mix she can have - double yeah! I found all the ingredients for ice cream there as well - triple yeah!
Now, I know I just listed mostly junk food, however, I also would like to point out I dropped 90 dollars on fresh fruits and veggies tonight - and that does not include the fruits and veggies my parents sell at their farm, because my dad brings me lots of freebies (things that are good to eat but yet might have a bruise on them that keep others from buying them. Which is sad, because a lot goes to waste that way - but I get a lot of free stuff that way too!). My dad is coming over tomorrow to bring me some goodies.
I bought 6 or 7 kinds of flower, 2 kinds of starches, and a whole lot of other goodies for her! As if finding all those items weren't great enough, the lady who helped me was phenomenal! She helped me find lots of things on my list, chatted with me for a while about food allergies in general, pointed out the bread they had that was okay for my dd to eat (I didn't know one even existed! LOL!) and was just sweet! She didn't look at me like I was an idiot when I admitted I didn't even know what some of the things I was looking for were, she didn't laugh when I pronounced quinoa wrong (well, can you say it correctly? I was saying qui-noy-ya and it's keen-ywa), and was just awesome over all! She even told me that Whole Foods has a policy that if you buy something and don't like the taste, you can bring it back opened and get a refund on it! She said a lot of costumers are there looking to try new things and chances are we won't like one of the new things we like so they will just take it back. Seriously? Nice! (Although so far almonds are the only thing my dd has preferred not to eat and they didn't come from there!).

Today was another good day for my daughter too! I called dh at work and told him that. He decided this diet must be helping her and told me "Go. Go shopping. Buy the foods she needs to help her. Don't worry about the price. I will figure all of that out later. You don't worry about it."

Well, the truth is I am worried about it. But we have to buy what we have to buy to keep her healthy. I know we will survive. Christmas may not be as grand as other years, but I know we can make it special anyway. And we'll see what other things we can do to tighten the budget.

Anyway, my whole point tonight, Whole Foods rocks. I love them now! LOL!

Talking to God ...

Okay, so I do pray. Maybe not as often as I should, but yet often enough.
I've never really felt like I have had a conversation with God though. I know some people pray and they say they hear/feel God talking back to them - with a feeling or something happens right away or some meaningful animal walks/flies/something by them. I've never felt that way. (Although one time I prayed about being so exhausted I thought I would die and was just in tears wanting to get some good sleep and I did instantly feel relaxed and calm and was able to sleep - and as much as I loved it and was so thankful, it felt like God did me a favor and was not conversing with me).
So, maybe this will seem weird to some one, but tonight I think I had a conversation with God. I was praying while I was driving but I still had the radio on. And I was sort of babbling along and having a hard time articulating what I was trying to say. So I finally just said well, I can't get the right words but You know my heart so that's okay. And then this song came on and when I listened I thought those lyrics are EXACTLY what I am trying to say and isn't that just a coincidence! And so I started talking again, using the words to the song as a help point. And then I started moving to the point that maybe I was expecting too much from God. Let's face it. Chances of me getting a check tomorrow for about 10,000 dollars is pretty slim (not that I don't think God could do that) but I'm sure dh and I will weather this latest round of having to really control spending and my guess is when it is all said and done, we won't lose our house or lose our ability to feed the family so really, with that set, well, the extras we can live without. Then this commercial for some conference came on and they played a clip of the guy who would be talking and he said something like
I told my neighbor that Jesus did love her. And she said, 'yeah, well if he loves me, then he needs to show me' And I thought he is showing you through the kindness of others and she just hasn't realized it yet
And I thought - YES! That is what I'm thinking. I'm moping around waiting for Jesus to show me he loves me by instantly making my dd better, sending us big fat checks, and making my life happily ever after! And really, is that so realistic! So I am in the process of learning to find His love in the other things in life, through the everyday "miracles" that might not make the news miracles, but are important enough to our lives to be miracles to us.
At this point I thought, wow, that's two coincidences, maybe I should turn up the radio ...
And so then I prayed how I was scared about how to go forward from here and how I felt I was in this huge storm and this out of control tornado and everything was just raining down on me and I was just going to drown and although I could say I know things will be okay in the future, I wasn't sure how to get to that future. And this song came on the radio ...



I got chills ... the chorus:
So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day, whats lost can be found
You stand in the rain

I mean really. How can I come to this blog and not tell you that God spoke to me today through my radio? I know. It sounds crazy. God spoke to me today through my radio. I swear I am not crazy. But I know, I just know He was talking to me. And I know that I can get through this. And I will get through this. I just have to stand firm, but really I need to stand in Him. (I'll admit though it feels sort of cheesy to type that, but I don't know how else to say it!)
Really though, how amazingly cool is that?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Some updates ...

Well, emotions are a little less raw today, so that's good. Honestly, it's mostly because my 16 year old sister came over yesterday and we found lots of silly things to laugh about and that helped a lot. It's also a little bit because, well, I'm armed with a bit more knowledge (which is something I love having) and of course I had a little talk with myself about how really it's not the end of the world and we will survive this (we might be a little battle-worn but we will survive!)

Anyway, I am armed today with lots of shopping to do, to buy a lot of foods I've never bought before (okay some of them I've never heard of before either LOL!) We have already been to a Trader Joes store. Sadly, though, they didn't have most of what was on my list. Even more frustrating was the cost of what they did have. The timing of this diet coincides with the timing of not being able to pay off the monthly credit card bill for the first time in many years. Of course what I bought there today was some already prepared food that ran on the high side. The soup cans I bought were 2.00 each - and they are about the size of the Campbell's soups, but they aren't even condensed! There is just enough for M for one meal in there. The brown rice pasta was also more expensive, but not quite the gap as the soup. A lot of what I have left to buy is ingredients to make a lot of food from scratch, and a TON of fruits and veggies. However, this is going to hit our pocket book hard. But what can we do? Nothing but suck it up and make it work really. But I have a feeling a lot of extras will have to be given up soon. Well, more about that later ....


Anyway, I think M will be eating lots of chicken over the 3 weeks, so I guess it's good she likes it so much! Dh is also going to prepare a turkey for dinner for us and all the leftovers will go for M. I will probably take the actual turkey and do a soup for her with it. So that should give us a few meals for her - and a few meals that we can ALL eat too!

Bonus for me was finding a recipe for ice cream that she can eat - it has no dairy or sugar in it! Although I need to find coconut milk, and that is going to be a bit tough I think.
I think we've found a few breakfast items and a few lunch items and a lot of dinner items. So although she will eat a lot of repeats, there will be enough variety to get us through the 3 weeks.

I still am feeling worried about it all. And I'm still anxious about how it will all work out (the diet, the money, my dh's business). I hear people say to not worry, to let it all go, etc, etc. But I don't know how to do that. And with me carrying around all this stress, is it any wonder that I got hit last night and today with a very bad headache? Probably not. I want to let it go. I want to lower my worry and my anxiety. I just don't know how. Maybe if I just tell myself to worry less and pray about it, that will help?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Last night ..

I cried. I just cried. For so many reasons.
I cried because life is tough (I know, nice that after 28 years this still gets to me)
I cried because I feel bad for my Little M
I cried because I was afraid this new diet wouldn't help her.
I cried because I was afraid this new diet would help her.
I cried because dh works too much and I miss him a lot.
I cried because my dd A is kind of a brat and I don't know how to change it.
I cried because I yell at my son too much.
I cried because I yell at all my kids so much.
I cried because right now it feels like I'm stuck in a tornado - just spinning around and around and around but I can't control which direction the tornado turns and I'm just waiting for it to spit me out so that I can brush it off and move on with life the way I want to go.
I cried because I feel so inadequate as a wife and mother.
I cried because my dh tells me that I am a fabulous mother.
I cried because my dh doesn't understand all that goes on inside this head of mine.
I cried because there is just too much going on and it feels like I've lost control.
I cried because I don't know how to behave when I can't control everything.
I cried because it's impossible to control everything.
I cried because frankly, that sucks.
I cried because I'm afraid that things will never get better.
I cried because I'm afraid I will never get better.

And today another day rolls on and that tornado just keeps spinning me around ...