Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wii Fit

I got up bright and early and headed out of the house well before I needed to be at church to make sure I secured a Wii Fit Plus this morning. The kids and I barrelled through the store to get it and get on our way as fast as we could. And, we were successful!

The hardest part was spending the next 4 hours at church knowing it was waiting, just waiting to be played. Though, church was wonderful today and and so much more beneficial than the Wii. Still, it's fun to have something new. It feels like Christmas around here!

Rob and I both feel such an amazing sense of relief to be done with our loans. As much as I think it's important for kids to work their way through college and really own their experience, I wouldn't wish the feeling of bondage that student loans provide on either of our children. It's now become our sincerest desire to have the ability to put our kids through college without saddling them with debt if they choose a career that requires a higher education.

Just last year I wasn't sure we'd ever make enough money to provide our children with a debt-free education (though the church takes good care of us, ministry isn't known for it's high earning potential!) Now I realize it is not about how much you make, but what you do with what you have. I know people who have a lot of money coming through their hands that are extremely broke. I know others who are thriving off of very little. It's all about choices. We're making the choice to stay out of debt, to live well below our means and to be wise with what God gives us. It's so freeing!

And now that we're debt-free maybe my mind won't be so focused on financial things and my blog will return to it's regular scheduled programing. Though I feel a bit like I'm running out of comedic material since our kids are out of the cute baby/toddler stage. Hmmm, what should I post about next?

Friday, February 26, 2010


As soon as we finished paying off my loans and I finished blogging about it we set out to make our first major post-debt purchase. A Wii! We've been wanting one for a while, but we've intentionally put it off until we were out of debt.

First we went to Target in Albany. No Wii. Then we went to Game Stop. No Wii. In fact, they told us they have a waiting list more than a month long and pretty much everyone's out of them.

What? I almost panicked. We've been waiting 14 months and waded through $25K to get the Wii (well, not just to get the Wii, but you get the picture). Someone has to have one. So we went back to Target and asked them if there were any stores in a 50 mile radius that had one. There were a couple of stores 40 minutes in any direction that had one, so we at least knew there was hope.

I stopped by Fred Meyer here in town, but they were out too and assurred me that all of their stores are out. For good measure I called a couple of stores closer to us (thanks Suzy for being my personal operator), hoping not to have to set out on a 40 minute drive. Wal-Mart-Out. Toys R Us-Out. Best Buy-Out. They're all out of the Wii Fit balance board too (the one thing I really want).

So, we headed up to Keizer and I called them when we were on our way. They agreed to hold the last one for me. I felt like we were on a wild-goose chase! But, lo and behold, we came home with a Wii! A Wii! We have a Wii!

We had our friends, Dean and Deborah and their kiddos over. If we were nice we would have let the kids play, but we aren't and we didn't. We played golf and bowling and the boys played baseball. It was a lot of fun! After our company left we did play a family game of bowling.

My next wild-goose chase will include an early morning trip to Target this Sunday. They're supposed to have balance boards in and you better bet I'm going to be there bright and early!


Me. Making my FINAL student loan payment... and our last ever debt payment outside of our house.
You should feel the mood in this house right now. WE'RE DEBT FREE! Our kids are just as excited as we are! Okay, almost as excited!
Rob, preparing the accounts to make our last payment. Right now Rob is throwing Titus in the air screaming "WE'RE DEBT FREE!"

Did I mention, "WE'RE DEBT FREE!"

Our Debt Free Story:
In early 2009 we began learning about the basic Dave Ramsey baby steps. The steps made a lot of sense to us, but we didn't have a lot of wiggle room in our budget. Our first calculations last Winter indicated we would be out of debt sometime in 2013.

Then the gazelle-like intensity began. We socked $1,000 in our emergency fund (baby step 1). Then with our tax returns from last year we knocked out a couple of our smaller medical debts and started our first extra payments on Rob's student loans (baby step 2). We put the payments we were paying toward the medical debts and any extra money we could scrape up into his loans each month too.

In September we paid off his loans and rolled ALL of that money into my student loans. We re-worked our budget to scrape out more money to add to our snowball each month. We sold more stuff and added that too. We didn't buy anything we didn't need and we stuck to our budget like glue.

 When Rob got a raise this year along with his new job, we just pretended he didn't get one and socked all that money into my loans also. We sold some more stuff, got a tax return, made a final payment on my loans as soon as that money landed in our account and viola, we've paid off $25,000 in 14 months. WE'RE DEBT FREE!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


This is the scene that greeted me as my family finally came down from completing their sneaky mission upstairs.

Titus gave me his Curious George, Leeann gave me her Ballerina Bear and Rob gave me some Steamers gift cards. Yummy!
Posted by PicasaWhat can I say? I am a blessed woman!

Sly Guy

Titus just ran downstairs and said in a sly little voice, "Mommy, we are doing NOTHING." Then bolted back upstairs. Should I be expecting a Birthday surprise soon? :0)


Today I am 28. That means I'm in my late 20's. I still feel 22. Sometimes I think I'm always going to feel 22. You know, somewhere between a college kid and a grown up?

I'm hanging out at my friend, Eroica's house today. I got on the Wii Fit this morning and it told me Happy Birthday and greeted me with my lowest weight yet, 6+ pounds below my starting weight 7 weeks ago. Yippie! It also told me my Wii Fit age is 24. I think it was sucking up to me because it's my Birthday!

I've been telling myself all week that I refuse to do housework today. I usually spend my Tuesday's doing housework to get ready for small group. But, not today! In fact, I dragged Rob into the kitchen with me late last night after I baked a cake-ish dish for small group (a whole night ahead of time, which is far better than an hour ahead of time which is what I usually do) and politely asked him to help me get done whatever he wanted done before small group because I'm NOT cleaning on my Birthday. Either that, or we could leave it and he could do the 4 o'clock panic tomorrow (which is today). He opted to help last night. And since my house is currently clean I figured I better not step foot in it today lest it get messy to the point that I'm forced to clean on my Birthday. I refuse. Is that ridiculous? Ah, shucks, who cares, it's my Birthday!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Baby's Gone

Smith got to meet his new mommy today. Our morning started out early, feeding and bathing baby, and gathering his things to send along to his new home. After Leeann went to school I got to meet his mommy and his case worker and before too long they were off. Just like that, he came and went. He was here for two weeks which seemed so long and so short all at the same time! I sure am going to miss those cute chubby little cheeks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Baby Smith

First things first, I just got peed on. Seriously... peed on! I wasn't speedy enough in getting the new diaper on before he let loose. Lucky me though, it only caught the cuff of my pants!

Secondly, Smith gets to go home on Monday! I'm so excited for him. For a while it looked like it might be shaping up to potentially be a couple of months. His cute little toes will be feeling the warm Hawiian sand in less than a week. Lucky boy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Walking Zombie

When I set out on the adventure of taking care of baby Smith I wondered how long it would take me to be totally delirious from sleep deprivation.

Answer: 1 week.

When you find yourself trying to negotiate with a one month old for a few more minutes of sleep and when you find yourself whining like a small child, pleading, begging, and trying to reason with him in the middle of the night... you know you've gone over the edge!

Honestly, I'm tired. I miss Mee Maw. She'd come take the middle of the night shift for a night or two if she could. Oh, I wish she could.

Really, I'm okay. I'll survive this state of sleep deprivation just like billions of others have before me. I just may walk around like a walking zombie for a while before my body readjusts to this madness.

Still, somehow once I finally peel myself out of bed, pick up that little guy, make him a bottle and start loving on him, the irritations of middle of the night feedings don't seem so bad after all. He needs someone to get up with him in those wee hours, and that's what I'm here for. I can't really blame the boy for wanting to eat-- someones got to help him keep those beautiful cheeks chubby! :0)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dreams vs. Reality

First, if things are terribly misspelled in this post, I do apologize, I don't have my glasses on... it's early in the morning around here, 3:38 am. When Smith wakes up to eat anytime after 3:30 or so he just wants to stay awake. Unfortunately, he's quite noisy. He's not crying, he just makes a lot of baby noises so I can't put him back to bed until he conks out a little... for Rob's sake, his bassinet is at the foot of our bed. I'd read something on the net, but again, I don't have my glasses and I'm blind as a dingbat, so I'll write to you instead!

So, let me tell you about my crazy dream. I was in the middle of this dream and about to pinch myself when Smith started crying... I guess that was meant to be my wake-up call!

This was a crazy vivid dream. Rob and I pulled into a parking spot backward in a space at the back of our church's parking lot. The kids were in the back and I'm not sure why we were just sitting there, but we were. A car pulled up next to us (pulled in backwards as well) and this guy with his head facing forward the whole time stuck his hand out the window and handed us an envelope... then drove away.

Like any curious person would do I opened the envelope. It was actually two envelopes, and it was quite heavy and oddly shaped.

The first envelope contained a plastic baggy full of random change and dollar bills. It was taped to a second envelope that contained a $50 bill, a $1 dollar bill then a thick stack of Target gift cards each with $1 taped to them (I'm pretty sure the sum total of the money and gift cards was enough to buy my Wii and Wii Fit Plus with the balance board. I didn't have time to check the balances, but hey, it's my dream!). There were also stacks of random paper that appeared to be receipts of some sort? Again, since it's my dream and I didn't have time to finish it, I'm going to assume they were concert tickets for the upcoming Reba McIntire/George Strait concert :0)
To top it off he slid in a Netflix DVD

It was crazy how vivid the construction and contents of the envelopes were. And, I can practically smell my surroundings at the time.

(insert 25 minute break)

That was my beautiful dream, but my stark reality is that I was just spit up on by a baby who owns the cutest chubby cheeks. He's spent the last 20 minutes screaming (which is abnormal for him).After a few minutes I decided to see if he needed to burp some more and he spit up all down the inside of my shirt which takes some skill seeing that I'm wearing a high-necked t-shirt!

After some more fussing I decided to make him more formula even though he'd already eaten more than normal. I attempted this one handed so I could try to calm the screaming baby hoping the rest of my household might remain asleep. One handed formula making should be an Olympic event! After bemoaning the fact that the formula can I opened just a few days ago is almost gone already (seriously, it costs far less to feed my 2 kids than to formula feed a baby!), I finally managed to assemble the bottle. I repositioned baby up higher on my shoulder so I could have a good grip on him while I shook the bottle. Unfortunately he then proceeded to spit up on AGAIN, only this time, just over the top of the burp rag that covered most of my shirt and shoulder.

To top it all of, he only drank .5 oz more!

So, now my shoulder is wet and icky and he cried another 1/2 hour or so. I'm deliriously tired after being up for 2 full hours now (especially since we went to bed late, the movie we watched was WAY longer than we thought it would be!). It's okay though, he appears to finally have conked out, and I can sneak and hour and a half of sleep before I have to get Leeann up and ready for school. I need to go change my shirt. At least I get a good blog post out of the deal! This post reminds me of a song. Lucky you, you don't have to listen to me sing it like Smith does... "Back to life, back to reality... (Hmmm, hm, hum, hm, hm, huhuhuhum...)"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lazy Afternoon

Rob's at work, the kids are napping and I'm enjoying the quiet. Well, it's not exactly quiet because baby Smith is a loud sleeper, and he's hanging out next to me. Still though, the sounds a sleeping baby make are rather precious!

Smith has been sleeping through the night much better, and his 1+ hour feedings are taking far less time now. He seems to be a lot more alert and responsive then he was at first. Most nights I'm only up with him once, smack dab in the wee morning hours, then up again early morning. Well, early to me means before 8!

I'm getting used to multi-tasking once again, though I still need to figure out how not to neglect my household chores for the baby, nor to neglect the baby for the household chores. It's a delicate balance we mommy's have to walk!

I have blisters on my palms, and my arms are ridiculously sore from carrying around this 12 pound bundle of joy. Seriously, it was all I could do to lift my lunch to my mouth today!

We survived the millions of questions at church today. It's amazing how people flock to babies! Our really good friends also came to church with their new foster baby today so it was an especially fun baby day!

We would like to ask for your prayers for baby Smith. He has a family that loves him and can't wait to hold him and meet him and love on and care for him, but there's a lot of confusion and red-tape that's preventing him from getting to his new family in a timely manner. Pray that the powers that be can figure out how to sort through his complex situation to get him home to his family. We're happy to love on and care for him, but let's face it, there's no place like home!

Friday, February 12, 2010

More Baby Stuff

My life has been consumed with Baby since Tuesday. I'm constantly amazed that we're responsible to care for and love on this little guy until he can get home to his new family. His case is a bit complicated, as he has a family including his biological siblings that can't wait to love on him, but they're out of state and can't have him until all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. And, that's a complicated processes in this case especially.

So, in the meantime we're loving, kissing, hugging and caring for him until his family can have the honors. It's so crazy that for some strange reason God decided to include us in the process of caring for him for a short while. I'm purposefully trying really hard to strengthen a bond between he and I. It's so important for babies to develop bonds early in life, even if it isn't with their permanent family. It provides the foundation they need to create bonds later in life which is vitally important for their development.

I've read a bit about bonding, attachment and adoption in preparation for what we had once hoped would be our older adopted child. Now that I know what I know about the process it's crazy to actually feel it happening. The first night we had him I dutifully cared for him because he needed care, though I didn't have particularly warm fuzzy feelings, due to the fact I had just met him. After some really long feeding/bonding sessions I've gone from dutifully caring for him to absolutely loving on him in just a few short days. Now I just want to snuggle those cute little chubby cheeks. I'm really enjoying having him around, he's such a sweet little boy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Backwards Baby

Baby really is a terrific baby. He doesn't fuss much and is more or less happy unless he's hungry. He does have his days and nights mixed up though. I tried often to wake him up yesterday since he was up virtually ALL NIGHT the night before, but he really didn't want to. Finally, he stayed awake for almost an hour just before bed time. That was beautiful because he didn't wake up until 2:30. Then he was up until 4:30, but slept in until 7:14, just one minute before my alarm went off. Beautiful! Well, not the 2 hours I spent awake in the middle of the night, but beautiful in that it was only once!

Even the 2 hours weren't so bad. I spent a lot of time snuggling him last night remembering my kiddos as little ones. The smell of teeny baby diapers (the clean ones of course) is something that takes me back in an instant. The soft skin, the chubby cheeks. Ah, it's good to enjoy the baby stage again... just for a little while.

Leeann and Titus are being BIG helpers. They really like having Baby around, and spend a lot of time just looking at him. Leeann has actually been a huge help because she's been taking turns holding the bottle during his feedings. He takes more than an hour to eat, which as you can imagine takes a good chunk out of our day. She's extremely happy to hold the bottle and talk to him as he eats though. She pulls out the bottle and checks to see if it's gone down an ounce. Each time it goes down an ounce she calls me over, "It's time for him to burp mommy." I'm telling you, this girl is going to be a great mommy someday.

Titus has enjoyed getting whatever I need for him and likes to 'keep an eye' on him when he's in his swing or bassinet. By that, I mean stare at him and then yell in a panic when he moves or makes a noise!

Well, that's all the updating I'm able to do for now. I've got dinner company tonight and two people coming over to look at two beds we have for sale this afternoon. That would be another $265 toward the debt snowball. Now if we could just get some lookers on the Condo. Freedom, here we come!

I also have two fantastic high school girls who are coming over during their free period today to love on the baby. I'm going to take advantage of the baby love and get some stuff done for tonight. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


We have a baby. Well, for a short time anyway. I'm not at liberty to post much in the way of details, but we are currently fostering a 3 week old baby boy. Within a couple of hours of a getting a phone call from a friend who is a friend of someone who works at an adoption agency, we are caring for a very small, very precious little life.

We'll likely have him around a week or so, but every case is unique and we're not quite sure what this one will hold. Other than knowing that it is definitely temporary. So there you have it. We're embarking on another adventure in parenthood. This one involves sleepless nights. I can handle sleepless nights when it's due to a cute little (temporary) baby.

Here's to seeing how long it takes us to figure all this baby stuff out again!

Monday, February 08, 2010


We got a Valentine's Day package in the mail today from Great Grandma M (Leeann's birth mom's grandma who lives in Texas). She sends the most fun items in the mail just in time for most major holidays, and sometimes just because! Well, today's box was full of splendid Valentine's fun. Like these sucker lips! The lips are attached to a sucker, so you look super cute and kissable as you're enjoying your sucker. Or you look miserable as your older sister attacks you with her big giant lips as mom is taking a picture to post on the internet for all the world to see... that's the other option!

How can you put a title on this?

Two days in a row, this is what I walked into after I told Titus to get dressed in the clothes I set out for him. What a funny kid!

Almost Late is Perfect Timing

I got out the door a few minutes early today. This doesn't happen very often, because I usually have somewhere else I need to go, which means I need to be ready myself. Today though, I didn't need to be anywhere else, so I didn't bother getting myself ready--hence being out earlier than normal.

I don't think I'll make that mistake again!

I think I just about ran over 6 kids, 4 parents and a school bus. Things are crazy around a school when you are arriving at the same exact time as 380+ other kids (okay, that's obviously an exaggeration... some were already there, and some were yet to come, but you get the picture!).

As I've said before we live very near the school. The back road out of our condo complex is the same road the school is on. It is a windy road though, so there are kids and parents darting out from behind all the cars lined up on the street. And, because cars are lined up on the street and it is a windy road, you really can't pass other cars easily as they're coming in the opposite direction. You literally have to pull all the way over to avoid getting crushed by the school buses as they pull away.

Then the drop off section is not nearly big enough to handle all the parents dropping their kids off at the same time. And if you pull in but can't park, you have to pull out, try to aviod hitting 6 other children in the meantime, and try again. Arg. You do this enough times and your kid is late anyway, regardless of whether or not you actually pulled in 10 minutes before the bell rang!

These are all problems I don't usually have, because I'm almost late, which is perfect timing. Yes, I think I'll stick with my almost late status. It's better for my blood pressure and anxiety levels! Besides, I think it's cute when Titus starts yelling at Leeann when we pull in front of the school. Almost daily he says, "Leeann, hurry up, unbuckle, run, you're gonna be late!" Hmm, I wonder where he would come up with such a phrase?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

One Bad Secret Keeper

Today I had made arrangements to pick up a friend of Leeann's after we picked her up from school. We have lots of friends over when we're swapping childcare, but this was going to be a real 'play-date'. Just because!

Well, I wanted to keep it a secret, but Titus already knew what the plan was, so I told him to make sure he keeps it a secret. So, the first thing out of his mouth once Leeann got in the car was, "Sarah Varner is NOT coming over to our house today!"

Apparently he has a thing or two to learn about secret keeping!

I'm waiting for some water to boil for some good ole mac n' cheese, and Titus is being Godzilla in the midst of their dress-up princess party. It's rough being the little brother!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Funny Boy

Is it awful when your 4 year-old son sees you cleaning and inquistively asks, "Mommy, is it small group night?" As if that's the only time I clean! Come to think of it though...