Thursday, May 21, 2009

Saving Money

We're constantly tweaking our budget these days, and in light of that, I bought the Sunday paper this past week, so I could clip coupons. I am totally becoming my mother.

Anyway, I ended up saving $34 off my grocery bill by buying what was on sale and using coupons. (My total bill was $120, so it would have been $154.) I think the best deal I got was on Diet Coke. Diet Coke is the bane of Bob's existence, so I didn't feel that he was appropriately congratulatory when I shared my savings, ... so I'll share it with you. I think Target charges about $4.85 for a 12-pack, which is outrageous, but fairly consistent with other stores. Meijer had it on sale for 2 24-packs for $11, so I planned to get two. And then when I got there, they were also advertising: buy 2 24-packs, get one 12-pack free. So instead of paying $.40 per can, I paid $.18 per can. Total savings: $13.25. I'm very pleased with myself.

And... inside the paper was an ad for subscribing. I ended up deciding to subscribe to weekend delivery (Fri, Sat, & Sun) for $6.30, which is just slightly more than I'd pay if I just bought the Sunday paper each week at the store, for $1.50 a pop.

I'm sure this is fascinating stuff for you all, but it excites me!

Ooh, and because I'm feeling very proud of this, I might as well also share that I found out this morning that I qualified for the "super-preferred non-tobacco user" rate for my new life insurance policy. I was really hoping to qualify, partly because it's cheaper, and partly because I guess I like validation that I'm in pretty good shape. I thought I was a goner when they weighed me and recorded my current weight (I swear they said they'd use my non-pregnant weight!), but I guess perhaps it didn't matter. So ... I'm in good shape, but if I die, I think I have appropriate coverage so my family won't be left high and dry. That feels good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One of those days

Today has definitely been one of those days.

I decided to work on painting the bathroom this morning while all the girls were napping, and it was going relatively well. Rather than stop after an hour as I'd planned, I just kept going. And then I spilled a gallon of paint. I had it balanced on the edge of the bathroom sink (bad decision, I know), and it just toppled over. Luckily, the paint was 99% contained in the sink, and the small amount on the floor was easily cleaned. And I was even able to salvage some of the paint from the sink. I'm left with about a half gallon, which should be enough to finish the room. In the midst of all this, Caroline heard a siren and started crying and screaming. I just ignored her as I was cleaning up, and then once I had things under control, I went to check on her. And apparently she'd decided to blow her nose over the edge of the Pack 'N Play, and I stepped in a puddle of snot. Barefooted.

Then during lunch, I was eating some yogurt with granola when Caroline, who'd already finished her lunch, came over to me, held up her hand, and said, "It's poop." And it sure was. I guess she'd put an exploratory hand down her pants and came up with a dirty hand. So while I was freaking out about that, Lucy, who was also done with lunch, decided to fling my yogurt/granola everywhere. I dealt with that, and then went back to cleaning up Caroline, when the phone rang. Ugh. And Lucy, I think, answered it. I don't know. I was yelling at her (I know, I know! Who yells at a 15-month-old? But I'd had it...), and I don't know if she'd answered a call or if she just turned the phone on after it stopped ringing. Somebody may have heard me yelling. It was not my proudest moment.

I also called to schedule Lucy's 15-month check-up, but called the car dealership instead of her doctor's office (448-1000 instead of 448-8000). It only struck me as funny after the fact.

I need a vacation.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Times, They are A'Changin'

Yesterday, I went to the BMV for three reasons: I had to sign off on some form releasing interest in our old Corolla (or last Corolla, since it's much, much newer than our "new" Corolla). I had to change the address on my driver's license (I realize you're supposed to do this within 30 days of moving, but really? Have you moved lately, with two kids and one on the way, into a house that needs a lot of work? 30 days?). And I needed to have them reissue my vehicle registration for the van since they apparently sent it to a house I no longer own. And I was driving around, illegally, without my 2010 sticker on the plates.

So... for your driver's license picture, you're now supposed to remove your glasses and maintain a neutral expression. The lady said, you're welcome to smile, as long as your teeth don't show. Apparently I'm not good at that... the system kept rejecting my pictures because, well, teeth were showing. I look like a freak in my new driver's license. Bob says he looks like a prisoner in his (he went in earlier in the day and did the same thing), so I guess we're a match made in heaven. But I already knew that. :)

I'm not going to over-think the new rules for your DL picture, but I can't help but speculate a little. Would I be easier to identify in the event of a crime if my picture shows a weird-looking woman without glasses? Since I never wear contacts anymore...

Also, then I took the girls over to where Bob works (a CCRC, or continuing care retirement community), and all these old women surrounded the girls, oohing and ahhing over them. It cracked me up that one woman took me aside, almost whispering, to ask me about the pregnancy. I forget that it used to be hush-hush; women did not used to talk about pregnancy at all, even when it was obvious. It was very cute.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


It may be a little premature to call it success yet, but I would say it's at least big-time progress. Here's the situation:

Caroline has had big reactions to sirens for a while. We were always appropriately compassionate, but we never wanted to encourage the fear by making a big deal out of it. Well, somehow it became a big deal, despite our efforts. It really got a lot worse the last time I went to Tennessee (my parents live across the street from the hospital), and then she just started waking up all the time, screaming about sirens, even if nobody else heard a siren. It made for a lot of sleepless nights. We learned that she was fine as long as we were in the room, so we started spending more time in their room after saying goodnight.

Of course, this just escalated the problem. Finally, we took turns sleeping with her in the guest room. We all got more sleep, but I wasn't totally ok with it. As sweet as sleeping with my daughter is (and it's sweet!), I really prefer sleeping with Bob.

Anyway, Bob was out of town all last week, and I realized that I was NEVER going to get a break from the girls if I was sleeping with Caroline. So I decided to play hardball. That first night, I put her to bed in the guest room (so she wouldn't keep Lucy up -- not that that's an issue; Lucy could sleep through a tornado) and told her that even if she screamed and cried, she was going to have to sleep in there, and I was not coming back in. Oh boy, did she scream and cry. For two straight hours. It was awful. Torturous. I watched a movie, just to drown her out. But she fell asleep!

The next night, it took just over an hour and a half. It kept gradually taking less and less time, and now, for two nights straight, she's gone to bed (in her own bed, now)with no tears. None. I decided a couple days ago to take the same approach with the sirens. She can cry, but I'm not going to go comfort her. She did hear a siren late last night, and she woke up screaming, and I debated whether or not to go in. (I know, so much for resolve...) I waited until I couldn't hear the siren anymore, and then she just stopped. Mid-scream. And went back to sleep. Who knew??

Anyway, everybody's sleeping where they're supposed to, and we're all getting more sleep, and I feel so good about it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I love my mom, and so I thought I'd do a short tribute to her today.

I love that my mom made a lot of sacrifices to send my sister and me to private schools because she thought it would be better for us (academically, spiritually, socially).

I love that my mom is the first person I call when I have some news. She (besides Bob) is just about the only person I like talking to on the phone. And we talk every day, sometimes more than once.

I love that of all the people in the world, the people I would most trust with my children are my parents. My mom might not do things exactly the way I would, but our goals and motives are the same.

I love that my mom is doing some things now that she's always wanted to do, like taking a yoga class. You go, Mom! And she recently acquired a cool bicycle, and she and Dad are having a blast exploring their town on bikes.

I love that my mom is proud of me. And I think of her whenever I hear the country song that goes, "I am Rosemary's granddaughter, the spitting image of my father, and when the day is done my momma's still my biggest fan..." I'm pretty sure she is my biggest fan.

I love that my mom, who seemed surprised when we told her we were expecting our third child, recovered quickly with genuine excitement.

I love that my mom is able to find good deals anywhere. She is the only person with whom I would shop at Goodwill. Turn her loose in a big store, and she'll find the top-quality but bottom-dollar steals.

I love that my mom drops everything to be with me when I have babies every 18 months. Bob's scheduled to be out of town this fall for two weeks, within a week of my due date. I called Mom and said, "I need you!" And she said she'd be there.

I love that sometimes on the phone, we get tickled and just laugh and laugh, uncontrollably. And that Caroline will join in, even though she has no idea why we're laughing. What fun!

Mom, I love you. Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I didn't go to church this morning, and that makes two Sundays in a row. I'm pretty sure that's never happened before in my life. But... last week, Lucy had a bad cough, and this week, Bob and I stayed up late preparing for his week-long trip to PA, and then I was up early, folding clothes for him, proofreading his papers, and trying to find our missing garment bag. We never found it, and I swear we searched everywhere, which must mean that it's in the Corolla, back at the Collision Repair Shop (where we would be having it repaired ... if we were having it repaired. But we're not.). Anyway, by the time we finally had everything together and the car packed, it was 10:30, and church started at 9:30. I put the girls down for a nap, and then I took one myself. Don't tell.

I fell in love with a chair someone had set out at the curb. It was old, upholstered with terrible fabric, and incredibly sweetly-shaped. I asked Bob to drive by it yesterday, but he "forgot." He gave me his blessing today to go lug it home and put it in the garage 'til we can have it reupholstered. I'm still a little sad about this: when I actually got out of the car to look it over, I really did love it. But the fabric had burrs in it, and there were big moisture stains under the seat cushion. I just wasn't up for it. But it was so cute...

Today, I was driving down the road (very carefully, since some kind folks lent us their nice minivan for the week Bob's gone), and as I was crossing some railroad tracks, I heard (I thought) a train honking, really loudly, really close. I don't think I visibly panicked, but I was freaked out for the three seconds before I realized that an ambulance was a car or two behind me, warning us to get out of the way. I'm still a little shaky, thinking about what I thought was happening at that moment.

We bought a car yesterday. I've told a couple people, and everyone's reaction changes once I describe the car a bit. I love cars, and I enjoy shopping for them, and getting a good deal, and driving them... but this was not an exciting car purchase. It just wasn't. It totally met our goals, and I imagine it will probably be a good little car for us, but: it's old. It's not pretty. It has a lot of miles on it. The paint's really dull. I'm not excited about driving it. Etc. However, as we progress with our Total Money Makeover, we're committed to not taking on any new debt, even a tiny car loan. So we paid cash for the little car, and it feels good. It's a Toyota Corolla, if you're curious, which is what we're replacing, ironically. But this one is a LOT older. A lot. Which is fine. I guess.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Living Green, Living Locally

This morning I went to the Farmers' Market with the girls, and we had a great time! I didn't know what to expect this early in the season, and though there were some vegetables to be had (fresh lettuces, fresh asparagus), I ended up getting some local honey, maple syrup, and eggs. Oh, it was fun! And I feel good about supporting local farmers.

Poor Caroline thought we were going to come straight home and have pancakes, since obviously maple syrup=pancakes...

On another note, Bob and I are going to go look at a car in a half-hour. In light of our Total Money Makeover, we're just going to buy a beater with cash, and then save for a better car, rather than finance a car. We're both excited about getting rid of a car payment. And it won't be too much longer before we eliminate the second one.

At breakfast this morning, Caroline kept yakking away about the roofers, and I thought, wow, she's really interested in this whole process -- until I realized that they were there, working, and she could see them out the window behind me! I think they'll be done today; they're hanging new gutters, replacing the missing siding, and finishing the flashing around the new chimney. I'm pleased with the shingles we chose, and I think the roof is looking really nice. Boy oh boy, it feels good to actually be making progress with this house!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Long Time, No See.

I've been away from my blogging lately... probably because my basement computer set-up is increasingly uncomfortable for me these days, and because I'm still having camera-to-computer issues. I went out and bought a pack of DVD's to start storing all my pictures on, but I must be doing something wrong. Bob asked me if I'd programmed them first, but of course, I don't know how to do that! Hmm. So I'm stuck with a full hard drive and a full camera card. And no new pictures.

I did paint the area over the fireplace, and I've waffled a couple times already on the color I chose, but I think Bob doesn't like it, so we'll keep looking.

The chimney's done, and we'd burn a fire in it (the fireplace, that is) ... if we had firewood cut to size, and fireplace tools, and a screen. We're both pretty pleased with how it turned out.

We're getting close to having the roof done. In fact, it may be done already, but it's drizzling, and I haven't gone out to check. The roofers seem like good guys, which is good, since I don't really like having ladders set up outside all the windows.

The siding repairs come next, and I can't wait. A little bonus with the siding repairs is that our basement will be a bit brighter. Two of the windows on the east side of the basement are covered by that piece of plywood that covers the area missing siding. So once the plywood is gone, let there be light!

On the family front: Lucy's personality is just busting out these days. She cracks us up all the time, and despite the fact that she's very, very passionate, she's also pretty easy-going. Caroline's vocabulary continues to grow, and her favorite thing these days is to help Bob and me. "Humpy dishes, Momma?" means, "Help with the dishes, Momma?" "Humpy cook?" is the equivalent with cooking. Bob's favorite Caroline-ism is the Pack-n-Play. She calls it the "cwap-n-pway."