Friday, April 25, 2008

5 budget busters!

I've been tagged! It's my first time so I'm pretty excited! This should be easy for me because it is "What are your five biggest budget busters?". For a family of four living on a Resident's salary a better question would be what doesn't bust our budget! But I will stay within the parameters of the tag because I've waited so long to get tagged I don't want to get blacklisted for not following the rules. So here it goes:

1. Publix - Their motto is "Where Shopping is a Pleasure" and they are truly right! Shopping is a wonderful pleasure at Publix - wide aisles, articulate young stock boys at every turn asking "Are you finding everything, Ma'm?", a free cookie for the kids, racecar shopping carts (see my other post about grocery shopping with young kids), and for the grand finale . . . special parking for "new and expectant moms" (which I have qualified for most of the last 3 years) unfortunately all of this comes with a price tag that is more that the local yucky Wal-mart. However, Publix has recently taken Rhett's favorite ice cream off the shelves and made it a "seasonal" item that won't be back until September. His ice cream was my last good excuse for shopping at the more {pleasant} expensive store so I guess I won't be back too often until September when Santa's White Christmas is back in the freezer section.

2. Been to the gas station lately? Even with a hybrid car and a smaller SUV that gets great gas mileage it is painful to see how much gas is carving out of our budget. I can't imagine filling up one of those monster SUVs. I hope the prices go down before we have to get something big enough to cart more kids around in.

3. A Disney vacation. Thankfully this is busting my parent's budget and not ours because if it were up to us we would have to stay in Valdosta and drive to the parks each day or we would have to hope our bank would see the value of the memories from a dream Disney vacation over several silly mortgage payments. Thanks Mom and Dad.

4. Half price children's clothes sales. There is no argument that a smocked Anavini bishop for $35 is a bargain (not to mention beautiful and very practical for how much wear you can get out of them) however it is not free. Good deals tend to be a budget buster for me.

5. The government. I despise taxes. Yes I know that I have to and should pay taxes but enough is enough! All of you economists and accountants hold on to your pantyhose because I have read the book, done some research and support the Fair Tax. There is a better way and I think this is it. Not that I think it will ever happen but I support it. I also have to mention that if I do have to pay city, county, state and federal taxes from my paycheck in addition to 9% sales tax on everything I buy I should at least drive on decent roads. Have you driven in Alabama recently - oh my where are my tax dollars going?

Friday, April 18, 2008

More pictures of Blurb book

Here are some more pictures of the Blurb book. When I post through Picassa I can only do 4 pictures at a time - I keep forgetting that! The last one is the back cover - I could do without the barcode but that's one of the only things I don't like about it. This one was kind of an experiment so I'll have a better idea of how to do the next one!

This post means I'm one closer to my 100th blog post (I think this is 96)! I'm getting kind of excited about doing the traditional "100 things about me" post for my 100th post! I've seen several and they seem like a lot of work but very cool! So get excited because it will be here soon!

For now I'm just going to enjoy this amazing spring weather and the quiet stillness that emcompasses our house between 12:30 and 3:30 everyday (also known as naptime!). Rhett's parents are coming tomorrow to visit overnight. Rhett is moonlighting all weekend so we won't see him until Sunday (thanks honey, I appreciate how hard you work for our family). We are planning on going on a picnic at the park with the Grands tomorrow. Claire is pretty excited about that. She cracked me up today with how much she remembers! A while ago I was going through the drive thru at Chickfila and the person taking my order got the juice box somehow confused with a fruit cup. When she gave me the summary of our order she mentioned the fruit cup. I said "No, I don't want fruit" and she said "you don't want the juice?" and I said loudly "no, I want the juice but I DO NOT want the fruit - I want FRENCH FRIES!". I realized at the time that I probably should have accepted the mistake and the fruit instead of shouting into the little ordering box "I DO NOT want fruit!" but, well, I wanted french fries. I also realized this wasn't a good thing for my impressionable two year old to hear her Mommy say and there could be ramifications down the road. Today I felt those ramifications as I was once again in the drive thu (this time just for a sweet tea - my special-mommy-treat that I get several times a week) when Claire yells from the back seat as I am ordering"NO FRUIT! We want FRENCH FRIES!". Oh my. First of all it was at least 6 weeks ago that the fruit incident occured and she remembered it and secondly she now thinks (or realizes I guess) that french fries are preferable to fruit. Oh well. She was bound to figure it out eventually.
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My Blurb book is here!

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first Blurb book! Here it is! This is my latest attempt at anti-scrapbooking. Just because I'm not crafty doesn't mean my kids shouldn't have a record of their lives. The digital scrapbooking thing was an option but it just didn't grab me. Then I heard about these Blurb books. There are several different companies that offer similar products but after doing some research I found that Blurb used the best printing process (the same one that is used for "real" coffee table books and such). I thought this might be the answer for me. I can lay out a book, write as little or as much as I want and have a neat way of preserving and showing our photos. I decided to do a test run with a book for Ford. It is a 7x7 hardcover. It has a nice glossy bookjacket cover and I was able to put the title on the spine. I think the cover turned out great. I did the book as kind of a journal from me to Ford about the day of his birth and the first few months of his life. I was able to chronicle in detail the emotions that I felt when he was born and joined our family. Other pages I put scripture that I hope will inspire him. I wrote about why we chose his name and wrote about our hopes and dreams for him. It's not artsy in the sense of embelishments and crafty factor but it does have a very modern artsy feel to it.
I love the full bleed photos. There were tons of templates to choose from so I just played around with it. I think the overall quality of the book is excellent. There are a couple photos that turned out a little dark or "off" just slightly. If I was a photographer trying to use Blurb to make photo books to sell I would be a little concerned but for my purposes it's not a big deal.
I am overall really happy considering this 42 page book cost about $26 plus shipping. I figure I could easily spend that with photo printing and all those scrapbooking supplies to make a comparable scrapbook. Besides I do everything from the computer so I don't have to worry about storing all those supplies. We don't have room for a scrapbooking station (or room!) like some of my friends so this seems to fit into our home and lifestyle a little better. And I can take it on the road! I did this one as a personal book for Ford but if I did a less personal book I could just print additonal copies and have them sent to family (hint . . . Christmas). I am thinking about making a version for Claire with pictures of family and some of her favorite places and things. I thought we could make a project out of going around and taking pictures of things she likes - friends, the park, dogs, firetrucks, her dolls, etc. then making her very own book for her! I know she would love to read it and look at the pictures that she helped create!
I'm going to try to go back and make a similar journal book for Claire and then start from now and try to keep up with everything from this point on. I can just make a few pages at a time and keep adding to it then I can print a big book at the end of the year! One of the really cool options that Blurb offers is a BLOG BOOK! How cool is that - you can turn your blog into a little (or big) book. Some of the blogs I read are simply amazing chronicles of different journeys and lives. They would make amazing books. I am definitely planning on turning ours into a book because it's turned into a wonderful way to capture those little day to day memories that I know would eventually be forgotten.

So for all of you non-scrapbookers (there have to be some out there somewhere!) here is a good option! I feel a little bit better now that I'm pretty sure I won't have to hand my kids a shoebox full of pictures and CDs when they leave the nest!
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Claire's quotes of the week

"Mommy, don't come in my room right now. I'm busy." (SLAM!)

(As I hand her blue sunglasses) "No, Mommy! I need my PINK sunglasses that match my PINK shoes!"

This isn't a Claire quote but I thought it was cute - The ladies that watch Ford at the wonderful day care center at the hospital where I work have given him a nickname "Dr. Shirley". I don't know why I think that is so cute and funny but I do! When you say "Dr. Shirley" around Rhett's family there are about 4 people in his immediate family that could answer - now there are five! He didn't nap yesterday while he was there and they said "Dr. Shirley didn't sleep! He saw all the patients today he didn't have time to sleep!".

We had his 6 month check up this morning. He is 19 lbs (80th %) and 29 inches (90th%). That means we have 1 inch to get him into a "big" carseat! We aren't going to start solid foods until we get back from Disney World in few weeks. I'm a big fan of waiting on solids until they are 6 months old. There's just no reason to shovel food into a mouth of a baby who can barely hold their head up or still has the tongue thrust reflex. Most of it ends up on their clothes and what does get in their little tummies just takes up room where milk should be. Milk is the ideal food for them at this age - it has all of the protein, fat, vitamins and antibodies they need to build healthy bodies, brains and immune systems. Green beans and squash can't compare. When you fill them up on those kinds of food there is less room for the good milk in there. I think there is a lot of pressure from people to start feeding but it's often such a frustrating experience if you start too soon. With your first baby you are excited and can't wait to get out all of the feeding gear then you realize how much more work it is! Some people have said to me "What? You aren't feeding him yet??" and then they look at him and realize that don't have much of an argument about him being hungry or not healthy! So the signs I look for as readiness are they can sit up unsupported, they have an interest in our food (watching us eat intently, trying to grap at our food and put it in their mouths) and loss of the tongue thrust reflex. All of these usually happen around 6 months - about the time the maternal iron stores are used up and they need another source of iron in their diet. It's amazing how if we just listen to our bodies and see how God has made us things just make sense! I don't know why I just went off on a pediatric nursing tangent but it is my blog so I reserve the right to do that at anytime.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rhett and Claire at the beach

While I was busy with Tablescapes this weekend Claire and Rhett headed down to Seagrove to hang out with Uncle Bobby and cousin Mac. That's right - no Mommies! They all had a great time. It was the first time except for when I was in the hospital to have Ford that she and I have been apart. I cried when she left but I ended up really enjoying my alone time with Ford. I realized that he and I hadn't been alone since the hospital either! It was lovely not to have to clean up toys or other messes all weekend!
If you remember from last summer Claire is not a big fan of the beach. She isn't crazy about the sand. I asked her what she did at the beach and she told me she got her feet dirty in the sandbox! She also told me she ate cookies, ice cream and french fries. Hmmm. She does like floating in the water but it was a bit chilly and rough so she couldn't really do that. It was quick trip with them arriving around midnight on Friday and coming home Sunday afternoon but they had a lot of fun together. Rhett said that Claire and Mac had fun together too. I'm glad they are at an age where they can play together.
So the next question is - when does Mommy get to go to the beach?? We are getting ready to go visit a mouse in Florida soon so hopefully I'll get some sunshine then even if there isn't a beach!

Look who's sitting up!

Ford reached another milestone this week - sitting! Yea! This is my favorite time: sitting but not crawling! Once they sit up it is great because you are just more free. I can chunk the heavy pumpkin seat and he can sit in highchairs at restaurants. It is going so fast with him! I guess it's because I know what is just around the corner. Now that he is sitting up he can slow down and just hang out here for a while.

This weekend was the big Tablescapes of Hope event that I've been working on for the past few months. It is a benefit for Lifeline Village - a home for women in unplanned pregnancy. The ministry is amazing! They really give these women such amazing support -whether they decide to place their baby for adoption or if they decide to parent. Several of the women spoke at the event and it was so cool to hear their testimonies of how Lifeline Village had worked in their life. My heart is really burdened for women in this situation for whatever reason. I think too often people say "I'm pro life" but just leave it at that. I think we have to be realistic and acknowledge the incredibly difficult circumstances women are in when they are trying to decide between life and abortion. I do think it is kind of strange that "pro choice" generally automatically means abortion. What are the other choices? That's the problem there aren't that many if you don't have a lot of family support and financial resources. I think we have to step in the gap and say "Hey - there are other choices! We will help you!". Some of the women I've been working on the committee with have children adopted through Lifeline Village. To see their children - how dearly loved they are by parents who desperately wanted a child - and think that they could have just as easily been disgarded . . . well it's overwhelming. We raised over $15,000 so far so we are really excited. Here are some of the table that I snapped a pictures of. The theme was "The Sheltering Names of Christ" so each table was decorated with a name of Christ.
This is the "Bread of Life" table
I don't remember what this one was but I thought it was so colorful and pretty!
This was "The Carpenter" - how creative!
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sweet Ford

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Ford conquers the boppy

One difference that I have noted so far between having a boy and a girl - Ford wants to destroy or conquer everything he plays with. He doesn't just want to bat at the toys hanging over the play mat - he wants to tear them down. Well, I guess he saw the ole boppy as a challenge too. He doesn't usually hang out in his diaper (insert jokes about Alabama here ) but he gets a lot more physical - rolling over etc - when he's not hemmed in my those pesky clothes. We were working on sitting today and I was able to catch this manuver in action!
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