Thursday, February 28, 2008

The anatomy of... anatomy...

Caution: Below is a story about the kinds of things my kids will kill me for writing about when they get old enough. But, it's too funny not to share it!

A couple of weeks ago I was changing Titus's diaper. Little 'nurse' Leeann loves to be around and scope things out whenever something gross is happening (like poo or vomit) or when she sees an owie (a rash or scratch etc.) So, she was kind of hovering over me as I was trying to clean a particularly stubborn diaper mess. Leeann looked up at me and ever-so-matter-of-factly asked, "Why does Titus have poo poo on his tail?"

I laughed so hard I almost cried and she laughed with me though she didn't quite understand why she was laughing. I didn't correct her then and there because I wanted to chat with Rob about it first, so I half answered the question and went on with our day.

As Rob and I were talking about it later we both recalled hearing at both our foster care training classes, and at a child abuse protection class how important it is to help your children understand the correct terminology for anatomy so that they can accurately and clearly describe what happened if an abuse were to take place. Anyway, we agreed it was time to have a chat with Leeann to help her understand, but we just kind of left it at that.

Well, this morning Leeann and Titus took a bath and as I was putting lotion on him, she began commenting about his tail again. I told her it wasn't a tail, and described to her, with appropriate terminology, the difference between a boy and a girl. After a few minutes of questions and comments it finally seemed to click with her and then she looked up at me and said. "I have a _________!" Then she proceeded to rattle off a list of her friends and associated their anatomy to their name.

It's cute enough in her bedroom, but I'm just imagining her prancing around the store asking people what they have, or worse yet, stating for them what they have. So, we ended the conversation talking about how God made some things private and personal and who it's appropriate to talk to about private things. Of course, here I am blogging about it... hmm...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Big News On the Horizon

No we're not having another baby, we're not getting a pet and we're not moving to some far off land. We are moving however!

Without getting into too many of the nitty gritty details... here's my 30 second scoop:

Rob and I are always looking at Real Estate. It's a sick hobby of ours. Some people paint, some people play golf. We look at houses. Well, several weeks ago we found a condo that had been foreclosed on at an irresistible price. It's a fixer-upper, but we could move into it, and keep our current place since it can rent for enough to cover the mortgage. So, we decided to test the waters, put in an offer and put our place for rent on Craigslist.

Our offer was accepted, as of this morning our house has new renters and we're moving in the next month (assuming that all of the financing goes through and the inspection doesn't show any additional surprises).

We feel like this is a great opportunity for us for many reasons, so we're quite excited! We'll get to try our hand at some home repairs, like gutting the bathroom and replacing a chunk of ceiling, and hopefully some carpet too. In theory once we get it fixed up we could rent out that place and move back in here after a year or two. Someone else will be paying our mortgage on our current home (I won't complain!) and we'll be saving several hundred dollars a month in the meantime. Yup, that's the BIG bonus!

It's only a little bit smaller (1220 square feet verses the 1442 we currently have and 3 bedroom 1.5 bath instead of 3 and 2.5). The neighborhood is not as nice, but we've lived in that same neighborhood twice before and have no complaints. We won't have a yard which some might see as a negative but we don't have a problem with. These small sacrifices are worth it to us to pursue a life long dream of owning a rental.

Who knows, maybe this is my first step to being a self-made millionaire by the time I'm 27? Yup, surely this condo is going to increase in value enough over the next year to make me millions. That's what all those infomercials say, right? And that diet pill is going to make me skinny overnight, and that knife they want me to buy is the only knife I'll ever need again, and there's only one of those perfect bracelets in stock so I better act fast!

I'll keep you updated!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Year Flies By

I turned 26 yesterday. Yup, I got my license 10 years ago... how crazy is that? In so many ways I still feel like I'm 16. It seems like just yesterday I was driving around my '88 Ford Festiva imagining where I would go to college, what would I be when I grow up, what my husband would be like, and how many kids I would have...

Wow, how time flies!

Yesterday I enjoyed some French Toast for breakfast, made by my 3 wonderful chefs! We went to the Y to workout, did some house projects then got ready for our fancy Olive Garden date with some friends. Yummy! I even bought myself a new dress and some heels for the occassion :0)

Afterward we came home and played a few hands of Poker before our friends had to rescue their babysitters! Man, life changes when you have kiddos... no more staying up til wee hours of the morning playing games. It's probably better that way, Joel and Brenna skunked all of us. It's a good thing we weren't playing for money or else I would have had a bad birthday! Oh, and we enjoyed some yummy mud pie ice cream cake. Oh boy--it was D-elicious!

I got a blender for my birthday. And yes, I asked for it! In fact I had to convince Rob it was really what I wanted. "What kind of woman wants a blender for her birthday?" he asked. The answer? One who likes blended mochas and has a barely functioning blender!

All in all, day 9490 (and year 26) was a great day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

South Beach?

Just in case you are wondering, I fell off the phase 1 wagon on Sunday. We haven't bagged the South Beach Diet all together, we're just moving on to phase 2. I looked at my breakfast of eggs (again) on Sunday and couldn't bring myself to eat it. And Salad? Not a chance! I decided since I could no longer bring myself to eat anything on phase 1, that moving on to phase 2 might be a healthier choice :0)

The other day we had eggs, chicken and salad for dinner and Leeann excitedly bounced to the table for dinner until she saw what we were having. She looked up and said, "Oh, not again!" Seriously, I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat eggs or salad again!

Anyway, that's where we're at just in case any of you were dying to know. For whatever it's worth, we both feel like we're seeing a little bit of a difference after only a week. We've also discovered how many everyday foods are loaded with sugar, and we're vowing to make some subtle changes to our everyday food choices.

I'll let you know how phase 2 goes for us!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

BIG Titus News!

Today, I was making breakfast and the kiddos were at the table and I was explaining to Leeann what Valentine's Day is. I told her it's a day that we take extra time to the people that we love how much we love them. So Leeann and I got into a go-round of who loves who more. In the middle of this go-round Titus looked up at me and chimed in, "I louth ew". Aw, my first I love you from my little guy on Valentine's Day... how sweet is that? I'm such a proud mommy!

In other new, Titus bit through his last binki on Tuesday night. I didn't realize it was his last one until it was already too late at night to go to the store and get more. Besides, I don't really want to get more because he chews on them and breaks them within a month or so. And yes, he's getting too old for them anyway. So, he's now had 2 nights of sleep and 3 naps with relatively few problems considering he's kicking a life long habit!

Oh, and I forgot to update you a few weeks ago about taking my kiddos to the eye doctor. Leeann checks out wonderfully, but Titus on the other hand has inhereited my astigmatism and will need glasses within the next year or two. His isn't as bad as mine, but it exists all the same. I'm sure he'll look cute in glasses, but it's hard as a mommy to think about your 3 or 4 year old needing them. It's hard for me to think about a 3 or 4 year old taking care of them!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


All right, so it's day 5 of the South Beach Diet. I have 9 days left to go in the first strict phase where ALL sugar is cut from your diet. I haven't had fruit, cereal, bread or anything processed for 5 days now. For the first time in 5 days I'm truly wondering if I'm going to see the finish line.

See, the thing is, you are told to eat until you are full. It's not depriving you of food, it's just encouraging you to eat the right foods. The problem? I'm not a big fan of the foods you can eat. I'm getting along okay, but I can't eat until I'm full because it's all I can do to eat enough to keep me going. As of this morning, I'm hungry. I'm hungry and I'm craving everything that's NOT part of South Beach.

We had small group at our house last night and I successfully avoid the frosted animal cookies and nachos, but it was SO HARD! Everyone was drinking hot cocoa too... oh how I'd like a cup!

Well I just thought I'd let the world know that I'm a weak, weak woman! My self-control is small to begin with and deminishing rapidly. However, I have lost a few pounds, which is the only thing making me think that maybe, just maybe I'll perservere!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some Things I Want to Remember

I just finished watching a video about the untold stories of Columbine. Most of you have probably heard of a young girl named Rachel who was shot after telling the shooters that she still believes in God. The video was of her dad sharing her story, her diary entries and her life. It was quite touching... a remarkable story.

It sparked a desire in me to write down some things about my kiddos that I never want to forget. I hope I will never lose them, like this man lost his daughter. He is sad, yet he rejoices because tens of thousands of people gave their lives to Christ in response to his daughters testimony. I really hope I will never know he feels, though I pray my kids have an amazing impact on the world for Jesus Christ. But, whatever happens, I know that life is short. Even if my children grow to be old, I hope I can always remember the days when they were young. My kids will only be 2 and 4 for a few short months. Soon they will be 2 and 5. Then 3 and 5, then 3 and 6...

At four years old, Leeann is the sweetest, most concerned and helpful child I know. She wants to fix owies, she wants to make people happy and she loves to help in any way she can. She rubs my shoulders when I'm in pain, she kisses owies and she's the first to give hugs if she sees that someone is sad. She seems to have a genuine care and concern for those around her. Rob and I think she may be a nurse or a medical missionary, though it's cerainly too soon to tell. She compliments people and always has something nice to say.

She likes to snuggle and tickle and wrestle and kiss. Any physical contact she can get, she'll take. She'll snuggle with Rob or I for hours on end. She thrives off of skin to skin contact. She's never had a blanket that she's been particularly attached to, but she's always liked tummy's. Yep, she'll stick her hand up your shirt for a little skin to skin on your tummy and she's happy as a clam. It's been a great tool to help her fall asleep. For some reason it's quite comforting to her. It started when I was pregnant with Titus, but it's stuck around for years after. We've had to limit it because it's turning kind of weird, but it's still cute. It's Leeann!

Titus is her best friend. She enjoys playing with him, helping him and teaching him. She's so good with him that it amazes me. These two even sleep together on most nights... by choice! Though she did inform us the other day that Titus went to his own bed one night because she was 'getting his tummy' and tickling him and he apparently wasn't in the mood!

She likes to do chores around the house. She loves to wipe off the table with a wet sponge, to 'sweep', to pick up the clothes I 'accidently' drop on the way to the wash. She loves to push the clothes into the dryer when I put them on the door of the dryer. She folds the wash cloths and has recently graduated to towels and some jeans even. She especially loves to help daddy do anything that he can let her. They've painted together, washed the cars and fixed all sorts of things around the house. She's very good at handing daddy his tools, dusting and picking up garbage. Oh, and she loves to help him garden.

She's always had an amazing sense of direction. She knows where we're going, and could probably tell you how to get there. She knows when we've gone too far and she knows what else is near. It's quite crazy, but was especially crazy when she was doing it at 2!

She is wildly addicted to movies. If something is on a screen her attention is drawn to whatever it is in full force! She must ask 20 times a day if she can watch a movie. Her favorite right now is Cinderella, Leap Frog Letter Factory and Cars. She likes Meet the Robinsons and Ratatouille, though we don't own those ones yet.

Here are some of her favorites:
Color- Purple
Character- Princesses, especially Cinderella
Clothing- Anything that's a dress or a skirt, especially if it comes with tights and fancy shoes!
Food- Macaroni and Cheese, though she'll eat just about anything! Seriously.
Places- Church, YMCA, Starbucks and Costco.
Book- Her Bible, the Cinderella Story and Green Eggs and Ham.
Song- B-I-B-L-E and Jesus Loves Me.

She also lights up at anything to do with friends, or with Disneyland... she can't wait to go back! She loves to learn and loves to be complimented. Her eyes light up every time you say something sweet to her or about her. She loves attention and loves knowing that she's done something well.

She has an INCREDIBLE memory. She'll memorize songs and books the first time she hears them. She's can recite most of her favorite stories word for word from cover to cover.

She can buckle her booster seat all by herself and she's pretty proud of that. She tells me often that she's growing up, but that it's going to be okay. "I'm going to grow up and get married and have a baby in my tummy." she likes to tell me. She's going to marry, "a boy who loves Jesus!" Right now she thinks that's going to be her friend Hamish, but Hamish doesn't know that and I'm not sure how he'd feel about that at 5 (or 6?) years old. Besides, she hasn't seen him in more than a year, and there's a lot of living left to do before she makes that kind of comittment! It was cute to talk about when she was 3, but now that she's almost 5 it's getting kind of weird!

She loves to dance, especially with her prince "daddy". Oh, how she loves her daddy! She adores him so much and lights up when he comes home from work, or even walks into the room. Those two have something special going on :0) I love to tease her that I'm going to hug daddy, or kiss daddy. She says, "No, I'm going to kiss him." and she runs full force at him trying to kiss him before I can. He means everything to her. Oh, how I wish she could be 4 forever!

Well, I'll have to save Titus for another day, but here are the first things that come to my mind that I never want to forget about Leeann at 4 years old. When 16 year-old Leeann is reading my blog I hope she knows how special she is, how loved and adored she is... and how grateful we are to have her in our lives! I love you 16 year-old Leeann, you're my favorite!


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Not again!

It's 10:30 and this is diaper #5 or 6 for Titus this morning. Yup, it's back. Of course it's back on a Saturday because then I can't leave him in the nursery at church. That's quite difficult when both of the sick child's parents work at a church and their biggest day is Sunday!

It's amazing how quickly a sick kiddo can turn what was planned to be a great day into a not so great day! Oh well, such is life. Such seems to be a lot of my life lately!

So, Rob and I bit the bullet and we started phase I of the South Beach Diet today. Basically, you get NO SUGAR for two weeks. It's trying to rid your body of it's sugar addiction, so you are limited to foods that don't quickly turn into sugar in your blood stream. We had scrambled eggs with peppers and turkey bacon this morning. I'm hoping it's something I can do since it's only two weeks. It's only two weeks. It's only two weeks...

We are in need of some new blinds for our windows since we painted last week. I think that's on our list today though I think we'll end up needing to special order them due to the size of our windows. We've got other post-painting home projects to do, like hanging up pictures and touching up some of the paint etc.

Oh, head over to Aunt Suzy's blog for the big gender reveal of Baby Molen! I'm going to be an auntie!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Zoom Zoom Zoom

We are officially a mutli-mazda vehicle driving family! We said good-bye to the '95 Windstar yesterday, and after WAY too many hours in the dealership with my husband and children we returned home with a 2001 Mazda MPV (it's a smaller sized mini van for those of you who are like me and don't know one car from another).

We actually picked it up on Monday and took it home Monday night but decided to take it back to the lot and spend the day looking for something else instead. However, when we took it back to the lot they knocked the price down an additional $600 (it was listed at $3500 above what we walked away with it for).

It's a great car, with great mileage (75K) and it's rated really well. It's an amazing value, considering our payment is nearly $4000 below retail Kelly Blue Book and we were able to trade in a van that we know is virtually worth nothing, being that the cost of upcoming repairs exceeds the value of the van...

However, there's a reason it's such a cheap van. It has a fairly significant amount of body damage. There is damage to both bumpers and each door of the van. A lot of the damage is little scratches, though there's a big gouge, a small dent and the bumper damage. It kind of looks like someone played bumper cars with it, or drove it into blackberry bushes, or tried to squeeze between 2 trees unsuccessfully. Really, it's hard to fathom what might have happened. You can't necessarily tell until you get up-close and personal with the van, but the damage is there.

Anyway, that's why we were willing to walk away from the van and why they continued to drive down the price. They finally got it to a point that my common sense out did my vanity and we decided to buy the car even though it means I have a scratched and dented vehicle. We would be looking at spending several thousand more dollars for a car that isn't as well rated with at least 25K more miles on it if we were to continue our search. So, we bit the bullet. We bought the van.

We could get many or even most of the scratches out for about $500 (unless I have any secret blog readers who fix body damage?), but it would be costly to replace the bumpers. So, hopefully at some point we can get the majority of the scratches out and just have to contend with the bumper damage.... (unless we can find some bumpers at a scrap yard and I have any blog readers who can do that too!)

So, the good news is that we're done car shopping and we got something that seems like it might not be a money pit. We got it for less than were looking at spending on anything else. We really wanted something built in the 21st century and less than 100K.

The bad news is that for the first time in our lives we had to take out a car payment. We just bought Rob's car last summer, and had no means to pay cash for this one (unless we wanted another money-pit car). We have totally mixed feelings about this. We don't want to have any debt, especially not on a depreciating asset. However, the monthly payment is less than the amount that we've been putting into repairs of our older vehicles. So, financially it made sense... but it goes against our philosophy and goals of being debt-free. In fact, just before the latest car woes we were making plans to scrape to pay Rob's student loans off more quickly, so we could roll that over into paying off my loans more quickly so we could be debt-free. Now, we've added more money to that never-ending debt snowball but such is life. We'll continue to make meager efforts toward being debt-free no matter how long and painful that process is!

Bottom-line? I'm done. No more dealerships, no more Craigslist, no more AutoTrader. No more Consumer Reports, no more how to shop for used car articles, no more dragging the kids in and out of vehicles and dealerships. No more wasted time. No more loan shopping. No more wondering what we should get. No more worrying that the van would die before we found a new car thus making our trade in worth nothing. No more car vs. van questioning, no more car stress. Until one of our cars breaks down that is :0)