Friday, April 24, 2009

If you need a good laugh or two this morning...

This is one of my favorite sites... it never ceases to amaze and inspire me... in regards of what not to do! Truly, it's hilarious! A must-read for all. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Noodle & Nanny

During our Kid's Small Groups Rob takes Hope and Titus out somewhere, and last night he took them to Target. His goal was to let Hope choose something that she could sleep with, since the other kids have lots of special toys, but she only came with 2 baby dolls (which she plays with sometimes, but isn't very attached to).

She chose a bigger stuffed Littlest Petshop Yorkie dog and quickly named her Noodle. She's been toting it around all morning, I haven't seen her let it out of her hands yet. She seriously looks so happy to have this dog, it's super-cute! She even popped into the room I'm in a few minutes ago and looked up at me with a great big smile and just said, "I love you" and then popped back out. I have the feeling I have a little girl on cloud-nine today thanks to my really thoughtful husband.

In other great news, I get to hire a Nanny! Because of the unique features of our case that cause us to spend far more time, energy and effort caring for these kids than is common for the typical foster-children, we are now receiving some additional funds that will allow us to hire a part-time Nanny. You have NO idea how stoked I am! I will have her 5 hours a day, 4 days a week, at least until Summer. She will provide some general child-care and help me out with household tasks and chores.

For the last 7 weeks I have been virtually unable to leave my home with all 4 kids because of some issues that cause safety concerns, for one or potentially all of the kiddos depending on where we're at or what we're doing when mayhem erupts. With the help of a Nanny we will actually be able to do things like go to the store, to run errands, or go to the library or the park.

I have also been unable to spend much in the way of one-on-one time with any of the kids (who all desperately need it based on the sheer reality of meshing two families into one). Because giving one child any lengthy period of individual attention leaves three under-supervised kids climbing off the walls, causing all sorts of mischief... or leaves them constantly interrupting, defeating the purpose of one-on-one time anyway.

So truly, I have spent the last 7 weeks just surviving. I work sun-up to sun-down simply making sure that kids are clean, clothes are clean, everyone is fed and things are in generally good-order. Oh, and I still have a part-time job. I am more grateful than anyone could ever imagine to be able to hire a Nanny. Perhaps the gray hairs will slow down just a little?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm not quite sure what to update you on, though I feel like I ought to update you on something since I haven't posted much lately. We're just continuing to march on, with life as 'normal'. It appears as though there's a good chance we'll have the kiddos at least through the summer, so although these last 7 weeks have been crazy and hectic where we've been operating in survival-mode, we're now trying to figure out how to organize our lives to get out of survival-mode and onto life as our new 'normal'.

I used to think it was nearly impossible to do some things with just my two kiddos, and now that I have four, I can't help but think of all the things I could do if I only had two. Isn't it amazing how perspective makes all the difference in the world?

Well, I best be going, it appears as if my blogging time is already up this morning. I hear paper being torn up downstairs...

Monday, April 20, 2009


I sold a jogging stroller today ($45) and a toilet ($60)... that's $105 toward our debt snowball. I'm loving craiglist and selling stuff to get out of debt. Anyone want a condo, a mini-van, a new vanity or a twin mattress?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just a Couple of Girls

Rob and Titus are going to take Hope and Logan to their visit in St. Helens today. This will give Rob 3 hours with just Titus while the kiddos are with their parents, and Leeann and I will get the WHOLE DAY to ourselves! 7+ hours, just me and my sweetie!

I'm so excited!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Debt Snowball

So, we officially started the debt snowball rolling tonight. This is where you get current on all of your bills, and begin paying off your debts with the smallest payment first.

Since medical companies are so on-top of their game we were excited (sense the dripping sarcasm) to open a $279.69 medical bill from Rob's 4th of July concussion at the Cool Pool. Yes folks, nearly a year later. Just when we're trying to pinch every penny to pay off debt. Arg!

So, for the world to see, as awkward as it is... here's how we fair:

$279.69 Medical Bill
$652.50 Ambulance Bill
$5,276.60 Rob's Student Loans
$14,611 Robyn's Student Loans
$20,819.79 Total Debt
It makes my stomach churn to think of how far in debt we are, even though it's far less than just a few short years ago when were new college graduates. We are fortunate to have never needed to run up credit card debt or have on-going vehicle payments.
Tonight we took a long hard look at our accounts, shifted around some money and put all the extra money we could muster into our debt snowball. Thanks to a hefty tax-refund this year it ended up being a significant amount of money. As tempted as I am to take a cruise, save for a new house, or splurge on some new clothes... we are committed to getting out of debt once and for all.
Our new debt total:
Rob's Student Loans: $2,066.64
Robyn's Student Loans: $14,611
$16,677.64 New Total Debt
So now we take the $40 per month that we were paying on the ambulance bill, plus any extra cash we come by (or can squeeze out) and add it to Rob's student loan payments. Once his are paid off, we'll add all of that to mine and hopefully be debt free (except for housing) by early 2013 at the very latest. It seems so far away, yet so close! Now the fun part is seeing how much quicker we can pay it off!
I can almost taste the freedom!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A New Mattress!

Today a new mattress was delivered to my house and set up in my bedroom! I can't wait to fall asleep on it tonight!

We were given a new-to-us mattress when we moved to Albany 7 years ago and it was delightfully comfortable for about 4 of them. The last several years have left me continuously rolling over onto Rob's side of the bed as I'd fall into the craters that seemed to grow more and more by the day. Rob then shoves me back to my side of the bed in the middle of the night, then I get frustrated that he doesn't want to snuggle... when the reality is he just doesn't want to be shoved off the bed. A new mattress has been on our list of things to purchase for a number of years, and finally the day has come!

It's the cheapest mattress we could find, so it might not really last all that long, but hey, it's gotta be better than what we were sleeping on. I'm grateful that we were finally able to purchase one and I'm hopeful that it was well worth the wait!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ready to face the week ahead!

Despite the fact that I've felt like I've been swallowing a chunk of glass every time I swallow (since Friday morning), I'm feeling rather refreshed and ready to face the week.

There's so much that I can't blog about regarding the kiddos because of the fact that they are in state care, that I've been trying to avoid writing about the subject as much as I can. Not that there isn't anything to write about... I just can't be very specific.

They've been here 5 1/2 weeks though, and they're a HUGE part of our world right now, so I'll give you a little update the best I can.

We still don't know how long they'll be here. It's kind of been a 'wait and see' game from day 1. There are so many factors that it's almost impossible to put a time frame on it. So, we 'wait and see'. Truly, we're taking things one day at a time around here!

We had a tough week last week with a couple of explosive incidences that simply left us worn out and exhausted. We have some good days, some really good days, some not-so-good days and some flat-out bad days. There were a few bad days in a row last week, and since they came back-to-back I hadn't an ounce of energy or emotion left to give anyone. It was kind of a breaking point for me, but a good one.

It was good because it forced me to seek out answers to some questions by some really helpful people who work for the state who gave us some really good ideas and advice. And, it's also speeding up getting some really necessary services in place.

So, although the week started out rough, it actually ended really well. We spent the weekend with my family in St. Helens and the 4 kiddos all did GREAT. I mean, seriously great. It was so refreshing to have some good quality time with family. I seriously don't think any of the kids even had a time-out all weekend!

Speaking with one of the state workers she said that we're at the typical stage where the honeymoon is over and there will some revolting and testing before things settle into a normal routine. It was good to hear that it was normal! The fact that we've now had several really good days in a row gives me hope that perhaps we're at the 'settling into a normal routine' stage. Of course, everything could change today!

I think that's seriously one of the hardest parts... just never knowing what the day is going to bring. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what makes some days better or worse than others.

But, today, today is going to be a good day. Today is going to be a good day, because even if it's a bad day as far as behaviors are concerned... I'm ready to face it. It's been so nice to have a stretch of several good days to increase my energy reserve!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Fun

We spread our Easter fun out over a full weekend this year. We went to St. Helens on Friday for the kids to visit their parents and we stayed over-night at Aunt Pam's house. All went surprisingly well for having all four of them out and about and loaded up with sugar for the weekend!

Leeann and Logan got to start their Easter fun a little early during their small group on Wednesday night. They got to go on a treasure hunt for Resurrection eggs and hear the Easter story.
Then we got to celebrate with our family, having an Easter egg hunt and great family dinner on Saturday.

Leeann raked in more than $10!

Titus only made $4 something. He kept shaking the eggs to see if they had anything in them, or he'd open them up to see what there was... hence only $4!
Hope made $8 something and Logan got $14+!

Leeann and I counting her loot.

She was so proud of herself :0)

This is Titus with his Uncle Jason (my brother).

Titus found a squirt gun!
This is my cousin Jenni, Rich, Bowen and Dallas. I haven't yet mentioned how super they are. Last weekend they made a 2 hour drive and stayed the night so I could coordinate a wedding rehearsal and wedding. Rob was at school for the weekend so we were in a tight spot. Four kiddos makes some things (like child-care) a little tougher! Thanks guys!

This is my handsome boy at church today. Isn't he cute?

Seriously, do they come any cuter?

Leeann did a hunt in one of the classrooms... all she needed was more candy!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Attacking Debt With A Vengence: Day 1

We've heard and interacted with several things by Dave Ramsey, and knew that someday we would pick up his book and run with his steps to financial freedom. Well, this weekend Rob picked up the book (Total Money Makeover), and we read quite a bit together last night and we are convinced that we are going to follow his 7 steps to financial freedom. Starting today.

The first step is to have $1,000 in case of emergency. Knowing that this was the first step some time ago we've already accomplished this goal, which is quite freeing honestly.

So we're on step 2: Eliminate debt (except your house) using the debt snowball approach. So this is where we start. The debt snowball approach is listing all of your debts and paying off the smallest amounts first (not the largest interest rate), so that once you pay that off you can snowball that payment into the next smallest debt.

So, today we are collecting information to get the exact pay-off amounts of our debts. And, in some small hope to encourage my readers to do the same (and to keep ourselves publicly accountable), we're going to do this in the public eye. Stay tuned for fun ahead!

Sunday, April 05, 2009


My mom and her husband, Keith came to visit about a month ago. We got my brother and sister the next day, so forgive me for being so late in blogging!

Hanging out in their hotel room. We got to go swimming!

Titus and Grammy

Leeann and Grammy

The clan being silly in the hotel.

Keith had a business trip in Salem, so we got to go play at the pool in their hotel and have dinner with them. It was an extra special treat since I hadn't seen my mom since August of '07, and it had been quite some time before then too. The only problem: our time was too short!
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A Day at the Park

We spent the afternoon at the park today. I went a little photo-happy, here's a sampling!

This is my sister-in-law Suzy and her son, Landon.
This is my beautiful and sweet, precious little girl, Leeann.

Suzy, Leeann and Landon.

Landon was playing in the grass for the first time.

Leeann was picking grass.

Suzy and two of her boys... Weston wasn't too fond of being in the picture.

My nephews, Weston and Logan.

My fantastically fun son, Titus!

My nephew Logan. "See what I found?"

Leeann signing "I Love You" to me.
We've got some great pictures of my brother and sister too, but I'm not able to post any pictures of them on the internet since they are in state care. We had a really fun day, it was SO nice to get out of the house and be in the sunshine for a while!

Staci and Library

My step-sister, Staci (my mom's husband's daughter) came to Albany to visit some friends and stopped by to say hello. We enjoyed time with her, and hope to see more of her in the future!

Leeann is posing with Staci in Staci's new car.
Which by the way I'm totally jealous of... it's YELLOW!

Leeann was trying to get Titus to smile. He was being a stinker!

Last week we attended the grand opening of the new library here in Albany. This is Titus playing with their doll house.

And Leeann checking out one of the new toys while watching a puppet show movie. Multi-talented! She can't resist watching the screen any time it is on!

Leeann posed with the Cat in the Hat. Titus was quite scared of him!

And here's the kiddos showing off their book marks they made.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm in my jammies at 8:30

Why, you might ask, am I not frantically rushing 4 kiddos between the ages of 3 and 5 out the door, barking orders at them, trying really hard not to be labeled a bad mom by my 'kid' being constantly late?

Why did I get the opportunity to snuggle with my two kiddos this morning as they crawled into bed with me... something we haven't been able to do much in a month (because we've been waking up so early and being up and at em as soon as we get up)? Why did I get to stay in bed until 7:45?

Why am I getting breakfast, which doesn't usually happen on school days? Why will I have the opportunity to bathe Titus this morning? Why are we all in such a better mood today? Why you ask?

She is a beautiful woman, inside and out and I could smoother her with kisses for her kind gestures. Mrs. Lauri! Mrs. Lauri is our church secretary and a dear friend to many. She loves people, and she definitely loves to help people. This is the woman you want to answer the other end of the phone when you call the church because she's always got a kind voice and a kind word.

Mrs. Lauri also has a daughter that goes to the same school as Logan. She assured me up and down that it wouldn't be an imposition at all for her to swing by and pick up Logan on the way to drop Lindsey off at school. It's maybe a 2 minute detour. A 2 minute detour for her that will save my sanity as I don't have to start every day out on the wrong foot. Some days, when we don't have somewhere else we need to be, I might even get to have a super-leisurely start to my day.

And, we all know leisurely starts make me happy. And when mama's happy, every one's happy! A well-rested, well-fed, snuggled with mommy is best for everyone, and this will go a long way to help me accomplish those aforementioned goals.