Monday, December 31, 2007

a cop-out post: One Word

Your last meal: cereal
Something on your desk/work area: crumbs
Your New Year's Eve plans: friends
The smallest gift you received this year: giftcard
The largest gift you received this year: money
Something you wish you hadn't eaten so much of during the holidays: nothing.
On your feet: toes
Your hair: messy
How many other countries you've traveled to: one
One country you dream of visiting: India
A hobby you'd like to take up/revisit this year: scrapbooking
A hobby of yours that died (aww, buh-bye) this past year: none
A publication you subscribe to (print): O
The most embarrassing subscription in your feed reader (if you have one): famecrawler
One of your favorite stores to window shop dreamily in: Target
One of your favorite online stores to window shop dreamily on: amazon
A color you love to wear: black
Your bed pillow: mmmmmmmmmmm
The color of your kitchen counter: spotted
What you plan to do when you get up from the computer: drink coffee

Saturday, December 29, 2007

a whole lotta cupcakes

sitting on the couch waiting for the second batch-the white-cupcakes to cool enough to frost. Half of them with vanilla, half with chocolate, just like the chocolate cupcakes. Kaia wants her friends to have choices tomorrow. Which is why I now have 18 cupcakes waiting for FOUR little girls to each pick one. This is an important party for her though, so I want it to be perfect for her. She already was disappointed that only three girls could come, everyone else is either on vacation, didn't return my call, or in the case of one was the wrong phone number.

Mike has WONDERFULLY agreed to take them all out to play in the snow, after which we will eat Kaia's choice for lunch, sandwiches and nacho cheese Doritos. Then cupcakes, then some in the house playing if there's still time. I'm hoping there's not, isn't that selfish of me? ;-)

This time next week I will be in my new house!! I am so excited to unpack and put everything in it's new place, to show my family the apartment I chose, and to put my clothes in my new walk-in closet! Then on the 7th, Mike starts work, and Kaia starts at her new school. She is getting more and more excited about it. We looked at the class list and learned the names of her new classmates. She has her apron for cooking, her slippers for wearing indoors, her raincoat for going outside for recess, her lunch box and basket for...well, lunch, of course.

My dad will be bringing up the crib, so Ben will have a new place to sleep. Kaia will have a new bed, too, as well as a new dresser. We'll have another bookshelf and a coffee table!

I think the cupcakes might be cool enough. So I will stop this incessant babbling and let you get back to more interesting things!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

making plans

Please excuse the meandering of the following post.......thank you.

I've created a one-year budget for us after we move. We will finally have some money to do some things, but first up is paying off debt. Thanks to my mom, we have NO school loans, but we do have other bills. We owe my mom a fair amount, but that will be the last chunk of debt paid off, as she would prefer we pay off interest debt first.

My Uncle Chris lent us another fair amount (though less) to move with, and that repayment will be started in May 2008 and paid off sometime the following year, 2009. The first bills we will pay off will be from Ben's birth, about $2000 total (after insurance paid 80%!). Then the MasterCard will be sent serious payments ($200-$400 per month) until paid off, probably by the first few months of 2009. Then we will start paying my mom back.

Rounding up, (possibly by a few thousand, not totally sure) we have a total of about 16 grand to pay off, and how awesome is it that ALL of it will be done by the end of 2009?

Plans for right after we move include making wills and getting life insurance for both of us. We will be immediately contributing to Mike's 401-k so we don't get used to that money, so our retirement plans can get back on track. The kids' college funds will have to wait until after debt is paid off, but then we can start putting several hundred a year into each of those.

We may, I'm not sure, have the Toyota paid off by the end of 2009 too, but at some point during that year I'm hoping to get a different car (Mike might keep the Toyota, he's not sure). Not a new one, but hopefully one that only 1-3 years old.

For the next year, we will each have a small monthly allowance so we can have some fun :-)! I will be taking that out in cash at the beginning of each month, and not carrying my debit card or checkbook around with me, to curb spending. I will be paying for groceries with cash too, and sticking to a set amount each month. Right now that amount is $400, but that may have to change.

One thing we are considering to reward ourselves for the hard work we've done these past three years, is getting iPods with one of his first checks. Not the most expensive ones by a long shot, but just something that says "We DID IT!!!" Then the budget can be followed from then on.

I'm trying to think of something I can do, that doesn't cost money obviously, for following the budget each month. I know it's going to be hard for me, but I really want to reach that zero debt mark. Mike really wants to be out of renting in a couple years, and I don't want to buy until we are in a really good place, financially, for that. Any extra money at the end of each month is going to be rolled over into a savings account, and I need something to motivate me not to touch it! ANY IDEAS?!?!

To keep from getting bored, I am already putting plans into place for activities the kids and I can do while Mike is at work. Kaia will be getting out of school at 12:30 each day. I have found some moms' groups I am going to try out.

On Saturdays, there is a Zen meditation group I am hoping will be really cool. I asked Mike about it and he is happy to give me those mornings if it turns out to be something I enjoy.

Wednesdays I am going to take the kids to the library, and Mondays will will go grocery shopping.

Mike will have every other Friday off, and we have already decided to see if we like the zoo and the aquarium enough to get year long memberships to them. (with each of those, 3 visits per year will make a membership worth the cost)

During the summer, I am going to sign Kaia up for swimming lessons, and since Ben will be over six months old, he and I can do a babies and mom's swimming time.

I am going to ask Mike's step mom to show me the ropes for ebay-ing. She and Mike's father were really good at it, and made quite a bit of money. She stopped after Bill's death, but she is getting back into it now, and Mike and I think that would be something fun I could start doing, to make money (hopefully!) and to occupy my time. So during the summer we'll be going to a lot of yard sales!

I'm excited to show Kaia the space needle, and I know I'll find lots of other fun stuff (like Pike Place Market!) in Seattle, as well as the town we'll live in, to do. My aunt and uncle live only 30 minutes away from us, so we'll be spending lots of time with them too!

wow. okay, that's enough babbling for now.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Good Friday

Today was spectacular. I will tell you why, but please know that nothing ultra exciting happened. I will reach the end of my tale, and you will probably wonder why I am so thrilled. Also, it's only 2:30, so there is so much more of the day to enjoy! I may post again later if more cool things happen. although nothing most people would find overly joyful happened, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

First, Ben only woke up ONCE last night!! That means he slept 6 hours, then 4 hours! Too cool....

Kaia headed out the door for her last day at this school, and I started coffee. Mike sat down at his computer to mess around for a bit and I checked email. Just a nice relaxing morning.

Mike went on a box hunt and was successful! He came back with several good ones, including 3 perfect book packing boxes. Together we taped them closed on the bottom and emptied almost one full bookcase! It was awesome to just spend time with my husband.

Then we made Harvest Muffins (at some point will post recipe) together, while sharing a leftover burrito. Again, just spending the time leisurely with my man was just too cool. There was no homework sitting in the background calling him, no other work that we HAD to do. Ben snoozed in his swing behind us as we stirred and chopped and Mike fed me bites of burrito goodness.

Then Andrea called and asked if I wanted to join her for some last minute Christmas shopping. Of course, there is only one answer to that, so she picked me up and we headed out, leaving Ben in his daddy's capable hands. We fortified ourselves with a couple of Baskin Robbins coffee drinks (and I picked up a small container of bubble gum ice cream (can you say oh my god, yuck?!) for Kaia and Mike (yes, my husband likes pink bubblegum ice cream. crazy, I know).

We headed to the store and wandered happily about. I picked up a set of reindeer antlers for Kaia, which was meant to be a Christmas gift, but turned into a feel-better gift (more on that later), and found 3 books for Ben's Santa gift. One of the books Andrea found and was extremely generous in letting me have it, as it was the only one left--it has black and white pictures of animals that look like they are moving when you move the page. Much cooler than it sounds, trust me.

I came home to my family-Kaia had a half day today-and discovered Kaia had fell at school and skinned up her nose and mouth. She was okay, but I gave her the antler-headband to help her feel better. Ate a Harvest Muffin, then sat on the couch and listened to her read a book she got in class today. Ben is now sleeping on me, sweet sweet boy, and Kaia and Mike came in from playing outside for a bit.

excellent day, don't you agree?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Proud of My Man

I can't believe I haven't brought this up yet, I guess since all my readers know me, so already know, I didn't think it was necessary, but I have changed my mind.

My husband, rockin' smart guy that he is, has graduated! and managed, even with two kids and a wife, to graduate magna cum laude!! He has a cumulative GPA of 3.75 and in his department (computer science) a GPA of 3.85! My man is awesome, isn't he? He was really worried about this semester since he was taking some hard classes and Ben came right at the beginning of it, but he did really well, two A's and two A-'s, which raised his GPA!

He is SO HAPPY to be DONE DONE DONE. I am SO HAPPY he is done too!! When we told Kaia she no longer had to hear the words "Sweet, I have homework to do right now", she practically cried she was so excited.

So yeah. He's graduated, has a job, and we are moving to begin anew in three weeks.

YAY, us!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I am out of sorts tonight. No real reason why, just feeling grumpy.

I adapt well to new situations. When moving up here the only regret I had was leaving my family and friends. My only regret leaving here is leaving Andrea and her family. I love the planning that goes into a move, the unpacking of my things, the dream that this time I will put everything in it's place and it will stay there. The finding of the nearby grocery stores, the search for the perfect doctor, dentist, chiropractor. The idea that I may meet new friends, find new adventures.
The down side to this? I begin to distance myself from THIS place too early. I stop caring if things have a place, because they won't even be here soon. I stop worrying how I look when I go out, because these people will never see me again! It's hard to clean my house, because in my mind, it's quickly becoming not-my-house. MY house is on the other side of the state, eagerly awaiting my arrival! It's even hard to eat the food here....this isn't real food, the REAL food over there, paused in it's existence until I appear to purchase and consume it. I forget to make sure Kaia has her Blue Folder for school, or does her homework (which I was actually getting very good at remembering to have her do), because this isn't her REAL school....her teacher and her new friends are only three weeks away from meeting their newest classmate!
It's hard to even buy food or anything else. I was in the store today, and I had to make myself buy yogurt and lunch meat. I passed a rack of something or other that normally I would have had to steel myself to pass by without grabbing things....and I could only think of the clutter it would add to my new home. I need pants, I have been living in pajama pants, only putting one one of the two pairs of jeans I own if I am leaving the house--but when I walked into the clothing section yesterday, I couldn't stand the sheer AMOUNT OF CLOTH, and had to go about my business of finding the Christmas gifts I had come for. I got mad at myself when this morning I realized both my pairs of jeans were dirty and I had to find the least dirty pair to wear, but won't go buy any until after I move. 'Cause in my strangely warped mind, the jeans over THERE must be better than the ones here, HERE where I don't actually live anymore, so can't buy anything right?
The only thing I haven't pulled back from is Andrea and her family. I want to spend as much time as possible (and due to weather and the price of gas, isn't close to as much as I'd like) before we leave. The last three years are the longest duration of time we've lived this close to each other in our whole 22 year friendship.
Now that I think about it, that may be another reason I have emotionally left this area already. I hate long drawn out goodbyes, so getting all but that one over with as soon as possible. And saying goodbye to Andrea, John, Katia and Liam will not be fun. There will be tears, at least on my part, and Kaia's......and the one thing I hate more than long drawn out goodbyes are tear filled ones.
That was enough of a ramble to last awhile, now, wasn't it?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

baby faces and a word I don't like....

When Kaia was an itty bitty newborn, I was always sad I didn't have a video camera to capture the absolutely marvelous faces she made when sleeping. I swore when Ben was born that I'd remember to catch him sleeping on film (on electrons? whatever...)

so of course I didn't get around to it, and suddenly I realized he's reached the ripe old age of almost-three-months and he has stopped making faces while sleeping. I am disappointed in myself! One of the cutest things about newborn-hood and I slacked it.

In other news, we are taking Kaia to the doctor today because she has an ongoing cramp in her leg where her thigh meets her inner hip. ( I really hate the word groin, so wasn't going to use it, but I don't want people to think I don't know the word for that my pride is forcing me to tell you I DO know the word, just don't want to use it! but using it in telling you, so might as well have used it in telling you about her cramp, and I'm going to go now...)

Friday, December 14, 2007

2 hours and counting....*

Well, I was thinking of doing a bulleted post, because I couldn't think of much to say, but a couple of things I DO want to talk about, but then I realized that there are only TWO things that really need to be said, and bullets for two things is a bit!

Kaia walked to the bus stop by herself this morning. Exciting as all get out for her, stressful and worry-making for me. After being instructed about the level of screaming that needs to be done if someone tries to take her, and after she made a promise not to take her usual sweet time to get somewhere, she headed out the back door. I watched her until she went around a building....then went inside. I did hear the other kids from the preschool coming, so even if no one else is there the second she gets there, they'll be along shortly. So a milestone has been reached. She walked by herself somewhere for the first time. Why is this making me more weepy than her first day of school?!

We found an apartment! I went out a few days ago and drove with my mother and aunt (had so much fun!!!) to look at the ONE place I could find in my price range with a three bedroom 2 bathroom unit available....and it's PERFECT. I absolutely LOVE it. Pictures to follow as soon as I figure out what's wrong with my damn computer making it refuse to take pictures off of my memory card. We move in on the 5th.....wish us luck!
*til Mike is DONE DONE DONE!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

some babbling from out of nowhere

There seems to be a growing trend to home school. I read blogs devoted to it, or by moms who happen to mention that they do it. And they are, RIGHTFULLY, so happy and proud about it. I've read a blog written by a woman while she was making the decision to home school, and read about her discovered love of it, and continuing enjoyment from it. I've known a family with four kids who home schools, and their children are very smart, very well educated kids who seem to really enjoy learning, thanks to their parents.

One thing that bothered me was that a lot (not all by any means) of the mothers who wrote about homeschooling, seemed to exude a holier-than-thou attitude about it. Even those that claimed to be non-judgmental about it would say things like "we love our kids enough to make sure they get a GOOD education" as if sending your kids to a public school meant you didn't love them enough, but hey! they aren't judging you for it!

So for about 2.5 seconds, I considered it. I mean, I'm an intelligent, creative person. I could do the research, and get the materials....there's lots about it on the Internet. Then I almost fell over laughing (internally) over the idea. I just couldn't do it. For a bit I felt a little guilty about that. Shouldn't I want to spend that quality time with my kids? Shouldn't I care that much about their education that I take it upon myself, now that I don't have to work, to give them the best chance in life that I can?

To answer the second question first, yes, I should. and DO. And the way I can do that is not by homeschooling. Because while I am an intelligent, creative person, being the sole teacher of my children would NOT be beneficial to them or me. Now, before you get all indignant, I am not saying it's not beneficial to OTHER peoples' kids who are home schooled.

However, as many strengths as I have, being a good mother doesn't include being around my kids 24 hours a day. I have to have time to myself to be able to give them my best. Also, having finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up, I am looking forward to going back to school, then work. I know that I would lose my patience, lose my ability to be the best mom I can be.

And that kind of answers the first question. I love spending time with my kids. But I know that I am more fun, and more able to enjoy that time when it's not ALL THE TIME. And I have decided not to feel guilty about that fact.

So I went with a third option. I found a school that agreed with what I, in a more perfect and patient world, would teach my kids. They will learn multiple languages, they will study music and the playing of instruments. They will draw and paint on a daily basis, even in the higher grades. They will dance, and be in plays, and garden, and cook, and enjoy learning (hopefully!)

It's hard for parents to figure out the best for our kids. For some, homeschooling is the only decision. For others, public schools are a wonderful choice. For me, the Waldorf system is what I like best. It's another one of those things that we need to stand together as parents rather than judging, like the whole SAHM vs. working mom (can't remember the acronym for that, oh well.) Being a parent is hard enough without having someone look down on you for your choices.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hangin' out in my little g's!

This last one was taken by Kaia.
Her camera is, of course, inexpensive, so the picture quality isn't the best...

baby steps...

My propensity for making new goals, then completely forgetting about them is known. So I haven't really posted anything about the new things I've been doing in my quest to live a little more Green. (I just found that website, actually....gonna look more into it.)

But I've actually followed through on some things for this goal, so thought it was time to talk a bit about it. Also, Ben is asleep and I want a reason not to have to get up and do dishes....


First--Andrea and I found these bags for $1 each, and I bought five to use instead of grocery bags.

I confess I have forgotten them occasionally...but I am getting better!

Second, I used money sent by my grandmother -she wanted me to get a diaper service. While I appreciate the gesture, I am not a cloth diaper sort of person. However, I do care that (did you know this?!) diapers take 500 years to decompose. This means every diaper EVER made is still in existence, and will be for hundreds of years more. I thought about going cloth for about 2.5 seconds, but sadly, it is not for me. However! I discovered g diapers ! So I used the money to buy the initial supplies and a bunch of liners for those. The liners break down completely in very little time, OR, you can flush them! Right now I am still using disposable diapers when I go out, but after I am used to using the g diapers, will exclusively use those.

Third, I am switching over to using natural products for household cleaning. After I move, I plan to use vinegar, baking soda and lemon for most of my cleaning needs. (does Costco sell those things in bulk? anyone know?) I will be taking my chemical cleansers to the waste disposal at the dump so they can dispose of them safely and NOT buying any more!

I am also trying to use more natural products for everything, shampoo, etc. many natural products still have things that aren't good, such as parabens, but I'm doing my best to pay attention to what I put on or in my body!

There will be other ways I go more environmentally safe, will go into details later! Ben's awake....

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bento and a practice in hyperlinking....

When Kaia starts going to her new school, I have to pack her a lunch every day. I wanted to start doing something different than a sandwich every day....also, I had decided to pack Mike a lunch too, to save money. I hadn't really figured out what to do, then came across this and though YES!!! YES!!!

Looking around I found pictures like this and I was a goner. THIS I HAVE TO DO!!!

So I found this and some other accessories and I am so excited to move and start experimenting!