Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Christmas Surprise

The special present my husband has been teasing me about for weeks...

12252009 xmas morning 033

So special and it nearly made me cry!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just around the corner...

I can't believe Christmas is on Friday. I have a pile of Christmas presents sitting on the dining room table waiting to be wrapped. I need to finish them if only to reclaim the table...poor hubby hasn't had a seat for three days. I also need to stamp the last five of my Christmas cards so they can go out in the mail tomorrow. The addresses are local, so they should get delivered before Christmas. (The post office is open Christmas Eve, right??) If not, oh well, I ran out of stamps and couldn't get out to the grocery store until today.

Our plans for Christmas are pretty simple. We're staying in town this year, which means Christmas Eve and Christmas at the inlaws. Remind me to take a long nap before Christmas Eve, because it's always a crazy mess of people (30ish?) crammed into one rather small house and Avery's family isn't known for being calm or quiet. I love 'em though; those Johnsons are a fun bunch. Christmas morning we'll open family gifts at home and then head back over to the inlaws for Christmas brunch and more presents. Then Avery will head off to work and the kids and I will hang out with his family all afternoon until Christmas dinner. Saturday we're hoping to head over to the zoo in the morning to spend time with some family friends we haven't seen in a while. (Avery's best friend is home from Montana...he's in the Air Force and is currently training to be in the nuclear missile silos.) Then Sunday my family is coming down here for the day and we'll go out to lunch after church and then have a little Christmas over here. Avery took two hours off of work that day so we won't be so rushed.

Should be fun! Oh, and speaking of gifts, mine is sitting under the tree taunting me right now. This is the first Christmas in 5 or 6 years that Avery has actually bought me a gift and I have no idea what it is. (Gifting is not his talent...he usually just buys me whatever I ask for...or we go shopping for my gift together.) He's been teasing me about it for two weeks now and I'm dying from curiosity. I have a few ideas, but the way he went about buying it really has me baffled. (He made a phone call, had an appointment set up, and then had to go somewhere this morning to get the last part of it.) I'm so excited!! I haven't been surprised by a big gift since I was a kid...the anticipation is so much fun!

Before I go, I wanted to thank all of you who commented on my last post. A lot of you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned needing to go to God first for that intimacy. It is when my spiritual life is suffering the most that I feel loneliest. When I'm spending more time in prayer and quality time in the Word, the lack of fellowship doesn't bother me nearly as much. So that was a good reminder. Also, my husband is my very best friend and I do look to him to fill those needs (after God), and that's how it should be. But like some of you pointed out, there's something special about having a soul sister. I'm sure God will bring someone into my life when the time is right, but until then I am very blessed to have an incredible husband, my best friend Kari, and my wonderful mother-in-law to encourage me. (Oh, and I am planning on getting involved in a MOPS group pretty soon to hopefully meet some new ladies, since our church doesn't have any ministries to mothers.)

Monday, December 21, 2009


Lately I've been craving human interaction. And not just surface-level, ingenuine small talk. Real, passionate, honest conversation about convictions, struggles, and life in general. I don't know if it's the fault of online social networking or the busyness that's bombarded everyone, but that kind of interaction is so hard to come by these days.

It's especially hard to find that kind of interaction with peers that you can count on for support and encouragement. To establish those kinds of relationships, there has to be a level of commonality and shared life experiences. For instance, my best friend is a newly married woman that I have known since third grade. However, she doesn't have children, she works outside the the home, and has different convictions in some areas of life. While I enjoy her company immensely and she is a great encouragement to me, I still lack that true commonality component that makes me feel understood and motivated.

Finding such commonality is made even more difficult by the fact that my family holds some convictions that are regarded as odd and unusual. While I know there are women out there that ascribe to the same views, they are few and finding them is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Lest you misunderstand, I'm not saying I can't be friends with women who disagree with me or are in different situations in life. I'm merely pointing out that desire we have to connect with someone who wholeheartedly supports our convictions and can be there as encouragement and an accountability partner.

Here are a few of the things that make my family a tough "match":
- we are strong Christians who are passionate in our belief that faith should be central to our lives and should affect every day-to-day action
- we strongly believe that birth control (in any form or fashion) is against God's original plan and that by allowing Him to control our family size we are honoring Him with the ultimate expression of Trust
- we believe that the wife's place is in the home, taking care of her husband and/or children, and that working outside the house (regardless of circumstance) should only be considered as a last resort after much prayer and Spiritual guidance
- we believe that the place for children to receive their education is at home and other forms of schooling are not nearly as beneficial for a child's growth and development
Addendum: We do not judge those who believe otherwise, we just believe that God hasn't yet revealed to them that particular truth. Kind of like the verse in James states - "to those who know to do good and do not do it, to them it is sin." If we were to not follow any of these convictions, we would be sinning, but others whom God has not so convicted are not in sin. (Just, as my husband would jokingly say, "a little misled." )

Anyway, my closest female "ally," so to speak, is my mother-in-law. I love her to death, but obviously we're in different places in life so the support can only go so far.

So basically, other than this being a random conglomeration of everything I've been mulling over in my head lately, I was also curious as to how you ladies go about finding those "soul sisters." Other than your husbands, who can obviously support and encourage you in your daily lives, who else can you go to for that accountability?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not so hot date night

Well, I did feel better in time for our date night, but the party was kind of a bust. I guess it would have been a fun party if you're into those kind of things, but not really for me. Here's the thing: it started at 9. We got there at 9:20 and were the FIRST ones there. One of Avery's sergeants and his wife walked in right after us and then one other guy showed up a few minutes later. No one else showed up until well after 10. They didn't serve dinner until which time I was about to fall over from starvation (um, hello, pregnant woman here!) They had a cash-only bar...and since my husband doesn't drink and I'm pregnant, we didn't bring cash. And they didn't even serve WATER until 11 when the food came out. (!!??!!) And to top it all off, they hired a DJ that was obviously used to the club scene because he played mostly weird techno Tejano music REALLY LOUD. Several people asked him to turn it down several times but he kept turning it back up gradually. And he used strobe lights and other fancy flashing lights to create "atmosphere." And did I mention that this was all in the banquet room of a hotel with hotel food catering? Yeah, weird combination. So my head was pounding by the end of the night from the music and the lights. I stuffed myself once the food came, but it wasn't all that impressive. At least, not worth the $20 a plate. We had to stay until midnight because that's when the newbies were going to do their initiation song (all newbies have to sing at the Christmas's tradition) but of course they were waiting on a few people to show up so it didn't happen until 12:30ish. We finally got out of there around 12:45. UGH. Not my idea of a nice date night. *Sigh* Oh well, I did get to spend several hours of uninterrupted time with my husband. Too bad we couldn't even hear each other over the music.

I can't believe it's only 5-o-clock. I'm already exhausted and the kids don't go to bed for several hours. And once they're in bed I still have laundry to do. Oh, and I was planning on wrapping Christmas presents and addressing Christmas cards. Where am I going to get that kind of energy?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just a quick rant...

Excuse me for a few minutes, but I just need to vent really quick. And then I'll be out of your hair, I promise.

Tonight is date night. We haven't had a date night in about a month and I've been looking forward to this one for weeks. It's an entire FIVE hours alone with my husband. (Well, with other people around, but without kids.) Our plans are to browse Lowe's and Home Depot for a couple of hours to pick out hubby's Christmas present (I'm sad there's no surprise, but I just don't trust myself to pick out the table saw that he wants) and then head downtown to his work Christmas party where we will stuff ourselves on delicious food and watch everyone else get drunk. Sounds fun, right? But, of course, I feel downright LOUSY. I have been having the hardest time stomaching anything the past few days and it's wreaking havoc on my body. Just an hour ago I attempted to make myself some tuna and I could barely eat a few bites. (Part of the problem was that we were out of mayonnaise so I had to use Miracle Whip...YUCK!) I have been craving random things (like pizza, french fries, a chicken sandwich from Red Robin, and pancakes from Jim's) and obviously I can't indulge in those very often. As it is my cravings are resulting in a very tight budget. But there's nothing like a good meal that I actually LIKE to help me feel better! Case in point: Tuesday night I desperately needed to get the dishes done and fold about ten loads of laundry but I was feeling awful. Papa John's pizza was (once again) one of the only things I felt like eating. So I ordered a pizza and was able to get all the dishes done and 95% of the laundry put away. AND I cleaned up the dining room table and set out the nativity set. But that evening cost me $15! GAH.

I have an hour and a half until our babysitter gets here. I want to feel better, I want to feel better, I want to feel better!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Right now my brave hubby is out on the roof in the cold putting Christmas lights on the house. Poor guy...he spends every morning taking care of me and the kids, so even on his days off he can't get much done around the house. So inevitably he ends up working on his projects well into the night. He's amazing, that husband of mine; God has blessed me soooooo much!!

We ordered Papa John's pizza for dinner again tonight. I say "again" because we got it delivered last Thursday night too. Our budget is getting tight with all the eating out (usually twice a week) but there are so few things I can stomach. I get so tired of bean and cheese burritos and hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly all the time. 11 weeks along tomorrow, only 29 left to go!

We had a bit of a disappointment today with hubby's paycheck too. He gets paid every two weeks and his first paycheck of the month is usually bigger. This time though, for whatever reason it was several hundred dollars smaller than usual. We don't live paycheck to paycheck, so it doesn't hurt us just makes it harder to pay down our credit card debt and save for the car we need to buy next year. (Three carseats just won't fit in my little Toyota Echo!) Oh, and one of our credit cards just accrued a late fee...even though we've never had late fees before, OR even a minimum balance due! If I had been paying closer attention I might have been able to catch it, but I was used to just paying it down as I could because it had a $0 minimum payment for at least three years. Plus we've been focusing on paying off our higher interest credit card first, so I hadn't paid anything on this one in over two months. *Sigh* Having back-to-back babies on crappy insurance policies certainly puts a dent in one's wallet! Thankfully now we have awesome insurance and it'll cost us much less to have babies from now on.

It is kind of annoying to see so much of hubby's hard-earned money get deducted from every paycheck. And I don't even mean income taxes or anything. He has deductions of about $800 a month just for his retirement pension and his retirement supplemental health insurance. It's rather ridiculous. I mean, having a pension when you retire is cool, but we won't need the money when we're old and gray...we need it now, when we have kids to feed! Plus he doesn't plan on retiring until he's practically dying, so it'll be kind of pointless to have all that money then. I wish those things were optional instead of mandatory. We could soooo use an extra $800 a month! It's crazy to think that he "earns" a salary of about $45K a year but only sees about $30K of that after everything is said and done. Oh well, maybe I can convince him to retire when he's only 55.

Okay, that was a long rant. Sorry about that. Well, hubby is off the roof, so maybe he'll be coming in soon. Have a good night, everyone!

10292009 001
(This is for you, Traci! Sorry I never let you know the hats got here! We love them!! )

Monday, December 7, 2009

Picture Update

Blogging has gotten pushed way down on my to-do list, but here's a quick picture update:

My little boy is 9 months old now!

My beautiful daughter turned 2 on Thanksgiving Day!

I love that my kids like playing together!

So, a belated Happy Thanksgiving and an early Merry Christmas to y'all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our New Normal

I know I promised y'all another blog post as soon as things settled down, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. I also meant to post some pictures from our recent escapades, but I haven't uploaded pictures from my camera in several weeks, so that'll have to wait.

Mostly all we've been doing lately is getting settled into our new "normal." I'm about 8ish weeks pregnant, and morning sickness is in full swing. My medication (zofran) is keeping it controlled, but I still feel awful from the moment I wake up in the morning to when I go to bed at night. In addition to the zofran, I also have to eat every few hours, which, as a person that doesn't enjoy food all that much, is rather annoying. Whatever I eat also has to have a high protein content, so I'm rapidly getting tired of eating the same foods over and over again.

Since mornings are hardest for me, I'm very grateful for my husband's 2:30 to 10:30 pm work schedule. It's hard putting the kids to bed by myself at night, but much better than having to get them up, dressed, and fed in the mornings when I feel my worst. Plus, the kids both nap until 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, so I really only have them by myself for four hours every night, which isn't bad at all.

I'm mostly just taking things one day at a time and looking forward to the day when the sickness eases enough to allow me to handle the kids AND the house.

Well, I'd better go, my 8-month-old has wriggled his way under my computer chair and is fussing at me to pick him up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unexpected Blessings

I know I'm overdue for an update, but life has been crazy, so snippet will have to do.

On the morning of my birthday (October 29th) I received a very unexpected birthday surprise...a positive pregnancy test!!! Since I am still breastfeeding Kirk at least six times a day, it was definitely a surprise, but a happy one!

Since that discovery, I have been cooking up a storm so that my husband won't starve (or gain 50 pounds from eating fast food) when my morning sickness kicks in, and we've been rearranging the house to make it more conducive for three kids. Obviously we have 8 months or so to fix the house, but we wanted to sleep train Kirk so that he would be sleeping through the night by the time I started getting sick and we couldn't do that with he and Shiphrah sharing a room. So we moved him into the master bedroom and moved the master bedroom into our "new" divided living room. It's going to take some getting used to, but I'm grateful the house came with the option to section off the living room into an extra bedroom if we needed it.

The pregnancy was confirmed by a blood test at my doctor's office and I have my first OB appointment and sonogram on December 1st. My morning sickness kicked in on Friday and I'm praising God that it's not that bad yet. As long as I eat everything in sight (especially protein) every hour or so, I can ward off the worst of the nausea. :)

So that's what we've been up to! I promise I'll post a longer update when things settle down a bit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Giggling Munchkins

Here's another video I meant to add the other day and thought y'all might enjoy. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Update in Videos

I've been a little too swamped to post lately, so here's an update in videos:

Kirk is going on 8 months and is finally showing an interested in people-food. Unfortunately, he prefers crackers and Cheerios to baby food and he'd be more than happy to eat his weight in Cheerios. I suppose that's actually more fortunate than unfortunate because I'll be able to start him on finger foods within the next couple of months.

Shiphrah continues to pick up on anything and everything we say, from excitedly announcing "turd!" when getting her diaper changed to grunting and growling like Mommy when she's frustrated. Here is a video of her growling at her crayons when she was told to pick them up. (You might want to turn up the volume to hear what she's saying.)

The munchkins and I rode up to Houston with my parents this past weekend to spend some time with my grandparents and my sister and her new husband. (Post and pictures to come eventually.) I took a video of Shiphrah running around outside playing with a ball and then saying hello to the fish in the pond. She has taken to saying "ready?" and counting to two when she throws the ball (not sure where she picked that up, although I have been trying to teach her a few numbers).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adventures in Sewing: Baby Shower Gift

I realized the other day that I hadn't blogged about my most recent sewing adventure. I recently bought a bunch of clearanced fabric from Hancock Fabrics online and was eager to try it out. Most of my previous fabric had been purchased in the $1 and $2 racks at Wal-Mart and wasn't the best cotton for clothing. This time I made sure that the fabric I was buying was right for apparel.

One of the officer's wives I am good friends with is having a baby any day now so I decided to try my hand at an infant dress. I had a cute, vintage-looking pattern I had been wanting to try and it had all sorts of embellishments I hadn't done before (button holes, ribbon, elastic in the sleeves, a collar, etc.) I made my usual number of goofs (like sewing the button hole on the wrong side...fixed by placing the button over it) but overall it turned out really cute and I was super-proud of myself.

Here is the finished product:
And here is a close-up of the front ribbon embellishment:

The back of the dress:

And the bloomers to match:

I had plans to make a matching hat as well, but time got away from me and I was pressed to even get the dress and bloomers finished.
Fun, fun, fun!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Freebies: Huggies 'Enjoy the Ride' Rewards Program

I recently joined the Huggies 'Enjoy the Ride' rewards program and they now have a prize catalog up on their site where you can redeem points for free stuff!

Click HERE to read my article for tips on how to get a free pack of washable markers or crayons without spending a dime!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going to blog...

...but life got in the way. I put the munchkins down for a nap over an hour ago and Shiphrah will not go to sleep. And she just yelled and woke Kirk up so I'm going to have to entertain him for half an hour or so and then try to put him back down.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all of you who commented on my last post. Things haven't really gotten any better, but we're trying a few new techniques and she really does seem to respond better when I get on her level and stare at her seriously while correcting her (maybe I make her feel guilty that way?).

I also have a doctor's appointment for the 22nd (that's a whole other long story...don't get me started on Obama's ridiculous assertion that everyone should have health insurance...there aren't enough doctors to treat everyone, people!) so hopefully after some blood work I'll be able to find out why I'm losing weight and am so tired and low on energy all the time. I really hope it's not just the breastfeeding.

Okay, I'm off to rescue my son (who turned 7 months old yesterday, by the way!!!).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mama Question - Effective Correction

I have a question for all you mamas of toddlers out there:

How do you refrain from raising your voice at your children?

I'm really struggling with this lately...Shiphrah is entering the "Terrible Twos" and since I also have 7-month-old Kirk to keep up with, staying on top of what Shiph is doing is no easy task. She likes to get into anything and everything, especially when I'm otherwise occupied, and she never responds to a command to stop. In fact, it seems like the only thing that does get her attention is speaking harshly to her or raising my voice (i.e. yelling). However, I never ever wanted to be the type of mom who yelled at her kids and so I'm trying my darndest to stop. Which brings me to the topic at hand again: what is an effective way to correct a toddler's behavior? She doesn't respond well to spankings (we have to spank hard enough to leave a mark if we want a response...she is VERY stubborn) and like I said before, she ignores me unless I raise my voice. Taking things away doesn't seem to bother her either...I can't tell you how many times I have taken away her coloring book and crayons after she drew on the table for the hundredth time. I haven't tried "timeouts" yet because I was worried about her being too young. If I try this, what are the logistics of a timeout at this age? I've heard the "1 minute per year of life" rule, but how do you make them stay in one place? I've heard of using the child's crib, but I worry she would start to associate nap time with a punishment.

Mamas, what do you suggest?

(Prayer for this would be appreciated also...I struggle with losing my temper too easily so I am all too quick to raise my voice when Shiph does something to frustrate me. I'm working on pausing and counting to three before I respond but old habits die hard.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Bad, the Good, and the Amazing

I've been meaning to blog lately but life kept getting in the way. It mostly got in the way in a very good way, but some of it has been a bit frustrating too. Instead of "the good, the bad, and the ugly" let's do "the bad, the good, and the amazing" but in reverse so we end on a good note.

- Kirk is teething. When Shiphrah got her first tooth, she was at least 8 months old so it didn't seem to bother her much. She whined a little more than usual and woke up a few times at night, but other than that it wasn't a huge deviation from her normal routine. Kirk is not yet 7 months old and he is miserable. Today he woke up from his afternoon nap absolutely hysterical. He cried for about an hour while I held him and patted his back. And it was that pitiful, painful cry that makes every mother want to jump off the nearest bridge. So. SAD.
- I am having some strange health issues. I'm losing weight, which is not a good thing for me (my normal weight is about 98 pounds), and I've gotten down to about 89-90. I eat like crazy and I definitely don't eat healthy foods, so I can only attribute this to Kirk's voracious appetite and the fact that he's still nursing once during the night. It's beginning to worry me though, because I know if I'm not getting adequate nutrition I'm going to start getting sick and the start of the flu season is no time to be struggling with a weak immune system.
- Secondly on the health front, in the past week or so I have had a huge loss of energy. I feel incredibly lethargic, all of my muscles feel weak (believe it or not my arms are actually feeling tired typing out this entry right now), and I feel like I'm in a daze most of the day. Sometimes I feel like a zombie just going through the motions every day. Kind of like when you take a strong sleeping pill or Benadryl right before bed and then wake up the next morning feeling like it hasn't worn off completely. I have a few theories as to what might be causing this: low iron (I'm always borderline anemic), a thyroid problem, or maybe mono (don't know, never had it before). However, to go take the necessary blood tests I need to find a doctor. I have an ob-gyn, but they won't see me because it's been 7 months since I had Kirk. I've never had a primary care physician before and living in a large city and trying to find a doctor feels like playing eenie-meeny-miney-mo or flipping through a phone book and picking the name that sounds the nicest. My mom suggested going to a DO instead of an MD because they focus more on nutrition and natural healing methods, but I'm not sure I want someone telling me to change my entire diet. But if I still feel like this through the weekend I'm definitely calling someone first thing on Monday. 'Cuz this plain sucks. (Oh, and lest someone ask, I'm not pregnant, I checked.)

- Kirk is thisclose to sleeping through the night! Most nights he sleeps about 6 to 8 hours before waking up to nurse and then he sleeps another 3 hours. Last night he slept from 8:30 to 6 and then slept until 8:30! I felt like I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! 'Course, it didn't help my overall tiredness much, but it still made me happy.
- The munchkins are learning how to play with each other more and more every day. Shiphrah will lay down in front of Kirk and make faces to get him giggling. Then they spend five minutes laughing hysterically at each other. It's so CUTE!
- Kirk is completely mobile. He's not "crawling" so to speak, but he's doing a belly scoot that gets him anywhere he wants to go. Of course, this means I am all too aware of how dirty the floors are because he gets positively nasty after just a few minutes of scooting.

- My wonderful husband surprised me by asking me out on a date for Thursday evening. He even arranged for a babysitter all by himself! He made tentative plans too, but we ended up changing them because I wanted to spend time with him instead of see a movie. So we went to Chili's and had their "3 course, 2 people, $20" deal. I love Chili's food...cheese fries with Ranch, cajun chicken pasta, a was heavenly! After dinner we drove downtown and parked so we could walk the newly renovated stretch of the Riverwalk. It turned out to be a bit more than we bargained for (who knew the Riverwalk was so loooooong!) so our feet were a bit sore after it was all said and done. But I got a piggyback ride from a hot guy () and enjoyed a gorgeous night along a beautiful river. It was a rather expensive date (when you add dinner and babysitting) but so worth it. In fact, Avery wants to make this an every-other-week occasion, which I am SO thrilled about! Don't get me wrong, I love being with my kids, but I miss one-on-one time with my husband. I can count on one hand the number of dates we've had in the past year and I'm so excited about making them regular happenings!!


(Us, back before marriage, kids, and the police force.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fair Weather at the Zoo

Friday morning we headed out to the SA Zoo to hang out with Kelly and her little boy Luke. Avery graciously offered to come along so that I wouldn't be struggling to handle both munchkins by myself. We have a membership, so we can just focus on a few areas of the zoo without having to worry that we "wasted" our money. This time we checked out the bears, monkeys, goats, tried to see the hippo (they are always cleaning their tank right when the zoo opens), and then spent the rest of the time in the little Tots area our zoo has. (Apparently it's the only zoo in the country with a special area for kids under 5 and it is wonderful!! They have several little play areas with lots of toys, picnic benches, several exhibits - groundhogs & tortoises, and a shallow "beach" for the kids to play in the sand and water!) Since our backyard has no grass and is full of doggy doo, we don't get to venture outside to play much. There's a park just a two blocks down from our house, but it comes with a mentally disturbed individual across the street that likes to yell obscenities at anyone who walks by. All that to say, hanging out at the zoo for fun is a nice alternative on beautiful days. And Friday, it was GORGEOUS!

"Umm, what am I supposed to do on this again?"

Hanging out with Daddy.

"Big balls! Big balls!"

"No, Mom, I will not say cheese, that's just silly!"

"Oh, okay, if you insist."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Life Chain 2009

Our regular church event photographer was out of town this weekend, so I snapped a few shots during the Life Chain this afternoon. Unfortunately I forgot to ask someone to take a picture of me and the kids.

My niece and sister-in-law. The one on the right was adopted as an infant...she was a 26-week-old preemie (1 lb. 3 oz.). Her mother didn't know she was pregnant and after giving birth she tried to have her baby's life support cut off. No one wanted Kate because of the high possibility that she would have permanent physical and mental disabilities. She's a perfectly bright and healthy 8-year-old now.

My brother-in-law, Kaitong, adopted from an orphanage in China when he was 12 or 14 (I can't remember). He has spina bifida and didn't learn to walk until he came to the U.S.

My beautiful sister-in-law and my goofy daughter.

Kirk, who slept most of the time, until all the honking horns rudely awakened him. Still, considering how hot and muggy it was, he was a trooper.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Prayer Request

I just wanted to post a quick update asking for your prayers. Our family is struggling with some church-related issues and decisions and would love your support as we seek out God's will. I don't want to go into detail because it's rather complicated, but basically we're unsure if we can continue to support the direction our church is going. My husband and I both have year-long commitments though (him as a deacon and me as a Women of the Church leader) so we are torn as to what our next step should be. Please pray for wisdom and guidance, especially for Avery, as he must decide what's best for our family.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekly Savings #12

- 2 packages of Huggies Snug & Dry diapers: $6.99 each (after two $2/1 mf coupons)
- 1 trial size package of Walgreens diapers: $2.79 (on sale from $3.99)
- 2 Glade scented oil candles: 50 cents each (after sale, two $1.50/1 coupons and a $1 RR)
Used $3 RRs on this transaction.

Total OOP = $17.05
Total Savings = $16.98
(RR Received = $1)

- 2 12-packs of Mountain Dew: $3 each (on sale 4/$12)
- 2 12-packs of Pepsi: $3 each (on sale 4/$12 with $3 ECBs WYB 4)
- honey roasted peanuts & roasted almonds: $6.20 (after $2/2 CVS coupon)
Used $10.99 in ECBs on this transaction. If I had been smart I would have rolled my ECBs and split this into two transactions, but I had Shiphrah with me and I never think well on my feet when I'm multi-tasking.
Total OOP = $7.29
Total Savings = $19.74
(ECBs Received = $3)

We had some extra breathing room in our monthly grocery budget, so I spent a bit more than normal on this shopping trip. Still snagged some good deals though.
- 2.32 lbs. bananas: $0.90
- 8 jars Beachnut baby food: $0.64 (after 2FREE, and two $1/3 coupons)
- Cheerios: FREE (after GM voucher)
- HEB potato chips: $2.19
- HEB 25-count paper plates: $1.98
- 3 boxes Gerber organic oatmeal baby cereal: $2.13 (clearanced for 71 cents each)
- HEB 1/2 gallon whole milk: $1.99
- 2 Trop 50 Orange Juice: $4.98 (on sale for $2.99 each plus a yellow $1/2 coupon)
- 2 boxes Kraft Velveeta Shells & Cheese: $1.54 (after $1.50/2 mf coupon)
- 2 cans Old El Paso refried beans: $1.38 (after $0.60/2 mf coupon)
- 2-pack Wholly Guacamole: $2.69 (after $1.50/1 mf coupon) --> this is the BEST tasting store-bought guac EVER!
- Lawry's seasoned pepper: $2.66
- HCF onion powder: $1.13
- Van Camp pork & beans: $1.59
- Pace Picante sauce: $1.74
- HEB American cheese: $1.67
- HCF cat food: $5.88
- Angel Soft 12-double-roll toilet paper: $5.47 (after $0.50/1 mf coupon)
- Pre-cooked thick & tasty hamburgers: $8.99
- HEB tortilla chips: FREE
- HEB Cola: FREE
- HEB hamburger buns: FREE
- Kraft deli-sliced Swiss cheese: FREE
- HEB French Onion dip: FREE
- Kraft shredded Parmesan: $3.59
- Barilla pasta: $0.30 (would have been free but I wanted the lasagna noodles)
- Barilla sauce: FREE
- HEB Premium mesquite bacon: $5.89
- Mission home style tortillas: FREE
- HCF shredded cheddar cheese: FREE
Total OOP = $60.92
Total Savings = $33.10

Total Weekly Grocery Spending = $62.69
($12.69 over budget)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Busy as a Bee

We've been a bit busy lately, hence the lack of substantial posts. Avery had a 3-day weekend this week, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off. It was awesome!! We mostly lounged around the house, not because we were lazy, but because it decided to rain the entire time. Which, because it's so rare in South Texas, was actually very pleasant. Despite the rain, we did go to breakfast at our favorite restaurant, Jim's, and then walk around Bass Pro Shops for an hour or so on Wednesday. Then my parents drove down from Dripping Springs to join us for dinner Wednesday evening (they brought the pizza, I made the salad) and the next night we had dinner with some friends of ours. It also got downright chilly this week...dropping down to the low 60' we enjoyed opening up the windows and cuddling under blankets. It's back up in the 80's today, so I'll probably have to break down and turn the AC back on in an hour or so, but it was really nice while it lasted! (I think I was able to keep the AC turned off for at least four days straight.)

The kids are settling into more routines...Kirk has gotten on a pretty strict, two naps per day schedule, and we feel like the worst parents ever if we mess that up (he's a grumpy mess if he misses a nap even by a few minutes). He also wakes up precisely at 3-o-clock every morning, regardless of when we put him to bed at night. The doctor has told us that we can start training him to sleep through the night, but we're not sure how to do that, since letting him fuss wakes Shiphrah up (they're sharing a room for the first half of the night). After his 3-o-clock feeding, he sleeps until 6, and then until about 8. I never realized what a challenge it would be to have only two bedrooms. But we'll least he's finally sleeping a good 7-hour stretch most nights! We've also started adding another solid food feeding sometime during the day, although getting him to eat remains challenging. He really only eats well when he's hungry, and his nursing schedule continues to be a bit sporadic (sometimes he's ready to eat after 2 1/2 hours and other times it's 4 hours). I don't really care how much solids he eats, but the doctor was rather insistent that we try to get more in his tummy. He's dropped off the infamous "growth curve" and in the past two months has only gained about 14 ounces (he's right at 15 pounds) and didn't grow in height at all. But he looks perfectly chunky and doesn't act hungry, so I don't think anything is wrong. His sister also hasn't gained but about two pounds in the past year and has grown maybe an inch or two, so I'm pretty sure it's just genetics.

Speaking of Shiphrah, she continues to increase her vocabulary...and her independence. I've really been struggling lately with raising my voice at her because she just ignores me otherwise. Plus, when I'm nursing Kirk, it's a little difficult to get up and spank her for getting into something. Yelling seems to get her attention, but I know it's only going to make things harder in the long run. So I'm working on keeping an even temper and correcting her as much as possible. She continues to be incredibly stubborn when it comes to meals. She'll eat a lot of foods, but since she prefers certain things she likes to hold out and see if she'll get them (i.e. strawberries, grapes, and Wheat Thins right now). She still refuses to eat most meat (with the exception of McDonald's hamburgers) and pasta (with the exception of Velveeta shells & cheese). So meals are pretty standard for her...breakfast consists of a banana and either applesauce or yogurt (sometimes grapes or other fruit), lunch is PB&J or a bit of whatever we're having (and by a bit I mean maybe two bites), and dinner is PB&J or a ham sandwich. *Sigh* She'll eat pizza too, but we only have that every other week or so, and she'll eat grilled cheese or cheese quesadillas about 1 out of 4 tries. Any other suggestions for good toddler meals? She likes frozen peas and canned carrots (but the grocery store has been out of no-salt-added carrots for three weeks now) and she loves any kind of cracker. Oh, and she'll eat just about anything dipped in ketchup, but she'll usually use about 10 times more ketchup than she needs. I guess I'm kind of just waiting until she's a bit older and I can start using the "stay at the table until you eat your food" or "if you don't eat this now you'll be having it for the next meal" tricks. Right now though she's so tiny I just feel guilty depriving her of food, you know?

Anyway, not much else to report. Currently Kirk is "crawling" (i.e. using his arms to pull himself wherever he wants to go) all over the living room playing with the toys Shiph left out and Shiphrah is asleep in Kirk's bassinet in our room (she wanted to sleep there instead of on our bed), since Kirk was asleep in the nursery when it was time for her nap. Sunday is the annual meeting at our church and I have to give the Women of the Church update (blerrgggg). Next weekend is the Life Chain and somehow I have to manage both kids and a bunch of signs and stuff too (I'm the coordinator for our church). It should be interesting. Oh, and I also have my friends baby shower next Saturday and an event at our church the Saturday after that. You know, sometimes I enjoy busyness, but not when I'm running on six hours of broken sleep. Ah well, we'll see.

By the way, I love these guys!!!