Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My personal life... finally, an update!!! (the summary, see future posts for specifics)

For those of you who don't Facebook with me, sorry, but that's where I post most of my life happenings. So... here's a quick update on me and my adorable family.

First of all, I have had a crazy past few months and things just keep popping up. In August, my side of the family had a reunion but we couldn't afford to send all of us, so my sweet husband sent me by myself and he stayed home and watched the kids for 5 days on his own. It was the longest he'd been alone with all 4 kids and he did great! I was impressed with all that he got done AND he kept the children alive! I had a wonderful time and really appreciate his willingness to make it a reality for me. Thanks, Dave!!

In late August, I was called to be the Girl's Camp Director for our ward. This will be a post unto itself because of the magnitude of it all.

Next, soccer and school started that began the craziness of running everyone everywhere. I found out very quickly that soccer for my 2 boys was going to be on 4 different nights at 2 different locations. I was disappointed as I realized that this meant dragging all 4 kids out every night to go up to the school. Within 1 week, Spencer's practice location was changed (but not the day) to the same field as Carter's practice, inside the track at the field. I thought this to be a sign that it was time for me to start walking again. Since being called as camp director, I had determined that I would need to start walking because on hike day, I didn't want to be left behind. Oh, if I had known what that would have started, I might not have done it, but now that all is said and done, I will forever be grateful to Emily Allred for her bold and brave question to me. Again, this is full story for another post but suffice it to say that Emily asked me to do a 5K with her. So, I signed up and started training.

In October, I turned 35... it's bad and not so bad. I feel a bit weird because I know that I am not very young, but I'm not very old either. It was made worse when a lady on Survivor said, "It's hard being the oldest one out here. Being 40 I am so much older than the rest of them." 40?? That's only 5 more years... when did that get to be old?? Also, for me, 35 was a turning point. I am no longer a "young adult." I'm not old either so I say that I am now, officially, an adult. No modifiers, just plain and simple. This scares me because I do think that it means that I now have to grow up. No youthful considerations for my actions. :( Blah, who wants to grow up?? Not I!

In November, I had surgery. A very long awaited rectal surgery. I have had hemorrhoids since I was pregnant with Carter (he's almost 8) and I have had an anal fissure for at least 2 years. These problems were quite painful for me and I was at my wit's end with them all. It was time to get them fixed. The surgery went well but I had some trouble coming out of the anesthesia. I couldn't keep myself lucid for more than a minute or 2 and I kept falling asleep. My dad came to pick me up and the nurse told him that I needed to stay upright for the rest of the day because I wasn't getting enough oxygen lying down. She also told him that I needed to have a sleep study done because they were quite sure that I have sleep apnea. This is something I have suspected for some time so I wasn't surprised. As for the post-surgery, it was fairly awful. Anyone with hemorrhoids should make sure they are bleeding and unbearably painful before opting for this surgery. Think of ripping open a burning, stinging, painful cut every time you poop and then do it multiple times a day. It's really, really, really painful so you should make sure you absolutely need the surgery before you do it. I did need and I'm glad I did it, but it didn't make the first 2 weeks very easy. I can't describe how horrible the pain is. It took me about 3 weeks post-op to feel like I was finally able to sit normally and to feel like I was starting to heal.

For Thanksgiving, we went to the Poconos with my in-laws. It was a wonderful, relaxing time. We hiked to some waterfalls, went to the Crayola Factory, went to an indoor water park, went bowling, played at a game room, dipped caramel apples, went shopping, did some archery, and stopped at Hershey Park's Chocolate World on our way home. I had plenty of time for recuperating from surgery and everyone seemed to have a good time. I braved my first Black Friday shopping trip and came out very shaken. I had a hard time falling asleep because of the horribleness of it all. I can't see doing it again anytime soon.

December came faster than I had hoped. Although I love the holiday season, for me December meant doing my 5K. Again, you'll have to see the post on that because this post is already WAY TOO LONG!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I promise this blog won't become a couponing blog... but... I saved a ton!

So, I've been disappointed in the sad number of super double coupon events, and I had promised to boycott the other grocery store for the whole month because of a decision they made so that left me one choice for this month. Buy in bulk at Costco and fill in with my favorite grocery store even though it doesn't always have the best deals.

What would you pay for 4 boxes of cereal, 4 boxes of pop tarts, 12 bags of fun size candy (for Halloween), 3 Yoplait smoothie mixes, 2 microwave personal meals (Healthy Choice, for my lunches), 1 bag pizza rolls, 3 apples, 1 bag grapes, guacamole, sliced apples in individual servings (for lunches)? Retail price tells me I should pay $114.17 for it, after coupons and store promotions, I paid $45.77.

In a second order, I bought milk, 2 frozen pizzas, 3 bags pizza rolls, 3 microwave meals, a small frozen cake, and 3 individual M&Ms packs (I owed Carter). I was supposed to pay $48.62 but only paid $22.26.

I know, everyone always wants to know how, well here it is: Promotion - buy 4 boxes of cereal get an instant $4 off of order PLUS a coupon for free milk to use in the future. Used 2 coupons, 1 for 75¢ off 1 box (which doubled to $1.50 off) and the other coupon was for $1 off of 3 boxes. Buy 5 bags of candy for $10 (instead of $12.50), I did this twice and added 2 extra bags of candy at $2.50 each, making my total $25 for candy. I then used 4 coupons: $1.50 off of 3, $1 off of 3, $1 off of 3, and Buy 2 Get 1 free - I got credited the $2.50 off of one of the extra bags. That's $19/12 = $1.58 each bag instead of regular price at $3.49, yes, it was awesome! In the frozen food section they had several items marked that if you bought ANY 6 items, you would get an instant $5 off your order. My 6 items rung up at $16.50 (those were the sale prices). I used a coupon for every item ($1 off 1, $1 off 1, 75¢ off 1 - doubled to $1.50, 75¢ off - doubled to $1.50, 75¢ off - doubled to $1.50, and 35¢ doubled to .70) This is $16.50 - 5.70 = $10.80 PLUS the instant $5 off = all of that for $5.80!! That makes each item less than that $1. I then had coupons for the guacamole and pop tarts AND the grapes and apples were on sale. I then paid with a $10 off of total order I got from doing a deal last week. This brought my out of pocket order down to $45.77 and I got my coupon for a free milk. Which brings me to the 2nd order.
I got the milk for free, which we technically didn't need but it freezes and it was free. I then got the 2 pizzas, normally $6.85 each, I got them on sale for $5.50 and used 2 coupons for $2 off of each, bringing my total to $7 for those PLUS it printed a coupon for me for $1 off of my next order. I then did the same freezer deal as last time but with 3 bags of pizza rolls and 3 microwave meals. I used 2 coupons totaling $1.50 off and I had another coupon for $1 off but I messed up on the meals and couldn't use the coupon. So that was a little more than it could have been, but it triggered the $5 off. The chocolate cake was on sale and it WAS my birthday last week so I got it, it was only $2.50. Finally, I owed Carter some M&Ms and he was going to share with Spencer so I bought 2 bags and then saw the sign that it was Buy 2 Get 1 free, so I grabbed a third bag because it was free. My out of pocket for this order was $22.26.

Today's totals: $114.17 + $48.62 = $162.79 Original Price, $68.03 Paid out of pocket, $94.76 Total Savings. It just makes me smile!!!

I promise to update on my life and family soon!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More savings!

On Tuesday, I went to Bloom and a quick trip into Rite Aid.

At Bloom, I had $106 order that I paid $40 for. Also, I walked out of there with 2 coupons for $15 off of future order. So I paid $40 and get $30 worth of free groceries in the future. Not bad.

At Rite Aid, I bought 3 boxes of cereal (each retail at 4.99) and a tube of toothpaste (retails at 3.99). I paid a total of 67¢ for all of it out of pocket. And the store is going to mail me a check for $2.69. That means over all, they are paying me $2.02 to buy cereal and toothpaste. Not a bad deal.

You want to know how, right? Here goes. The cereal was marked down to 2/$5. Which meant that when I bought 3 it was $7.50 total. I then had a coupon for $1 off of 3 boxes. So, I only paid $6.50. The toothpaste was marked down to $2.69 with a rebate check for the full price - $2.69. So I paid for it now, but they're going to mail me the check. I had a coupon for 75¢ off of the toothpaste. Finally, I had 2 in-store coupons. 1 was for $3 off any order of $15 or more (calculated before discounts and coupons) that I got by doing a quick survey at home after many last shopping trip and the other was from their loyalty program where I bought certain products that triggered a coupon of $5 towards a future order. That means that with the 2 store coupons I had $8 off and then I had the 2 manufacturers coupons for totaling $1.75. I paid only .67 for items that would normally cost a total of $19.19 and don't forget that they are sending me that check for $2.69. It does feel awesome!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Measuring the kids...

S is 9 years, 5 months old: 54 inches, 105.4 lbs.
C is 7 years, 2 months old: 47.5 inches, 50.4 lbs.
M is 4 years, 2 months old: 39 inches, 34.8 lbs.
T is 2 years, 3 months old: 33 inches, 25.8 lbs

Note: the weight was done with clothes on, so subtract for jeans, shirts, etc.
Heights were done on carpet and not everyone was perfectly straight.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Couponing trip 6/21

I was pretty nervous about taking all of the kids to the grocery store tonight. It's something that I normally avoid. I had to share how it went, though, and I'm pretty excited about some of the deals I got.

First of all, I had kids in the store with me, so I had to be fast, also we had to be somewhere in an hour, and it was 30 min. away, so we really had to hurry.
Here's what I bought: Colgate toothpaste, 2 Pine-sol, 2 Clorox clean-up spray, 1 Herbal Essences Shampoo, 1 A-1 steak sauce, 4 Kellogg's Pop Tarts, 2 Kellogg's strawberry mini-wheats, 2 Kellogg's fruit snacks, and 1 409.

First, the Colgate. It was on sale for 1.50. I had a coupon for $1 off. Toothpaste for .50 is not bad, but it gets better. Today was super doubles (they will double your bigger coupons up to a coupon worth $1.98), so my coupon doubled to $2 off, it was on sale for $1.5o which means they paid me .50 to buy the item... pretty cool, right?

Then there is a deal running in the store that if you buy any 10 items (from a huge list) you get $5 instantly off your order (it also says if you buy 20 you get $10 off and if you buy 30 you get $15 off). I bought 10 items: 2 pine-sol each for $2.59 and each with a $1 off coupon that doubled to $2 off, so I paid $.59 for each one. 2 Clorox sprays, each on sale for $2.50 and each with a coupon for $1 off which doubled to $2 off of 2.50 making them $.50 each. 1 A-1 steak sauce, cost $3 with a $1 off coupon doubled, so I paid only $1 for it. 1 Herbal Essence Shampoo which was on sale for $3, with my coupon it was only $1 for me. Finally, I bought 4 boxes of pop tarts, normally $2.59 but on sale for $2.29 - not a huge savings, but this is a staple at our house. I paid a total of $13.34 for the 10 items, got my $5 off of the order, bringing that total down to $8.34. Which is not bad (it essentially means that I only paid about $1 for each of the boxes of poptarts!)
Kellogg's - I bought 2 cereal, each at $3, which isn't a great deal, but I needed a change of scenery with my cereal choices so I bought some. So $6 total for that but I had a $1 off of 2 coupon, which doubled brought that down to $4 total. I then got fruit snacks (because the kids were pretty good and they asked nicely) which were on sale but I didn't have a coupon for, I paid $2.29 a box instead of $2.99, so $4.58 total. What I didn't know, is that if you buy 5 Kellogg's products, (which they counted the pop tarts too, but I won't count in my total here because I counted it above) Kellogg's would give you $3 off your order! So, my total in Kellogg's products here was $8.58, minus the $3, and I paid a total of $5.58 for it.

I bought the 409 because I needed it. It cost $2.50. I also donated a $1 to Children's Miracle Network - something I try to do when I feel like I am saving money. My total before savings was: $52.70, with tax and everything, I paid $19.27. I know I could have saved even more money if I'd had a coupon for pop-tarts, fruit snacks, and 409, but overall, I feel like it was a fairly successful trip!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer schedule

As today was the last day of school, I thought it was time to work on our daily summer schedule. Here's how I have it so far:

6:00am – Boys get girls breakfast and everyone plays quietly while mommy sleeps

10am – mommy finally wakes up and takes leisurely shower

11am – mom begins preparing lunch while children clean the house

11:30 – lunch

12:00 – girls go down for nap time, boys go out to play, mommy takes nap

4:00pm – mommy and girls wake up

4:30pm – we order dinner, children clean the house

5:30pm – we eat dinner

6:00pm – family scripture study and prayer

6:30pm – pjs and teeth brushing

7:00pm – bed time for all children

Okay, so it might need a LITTLE work, but it was a nice thought, right?!?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And the award goes to...

I had a wonderful week last week with small moments that make me smile. It was a normal everyday week, but there was just something about being able to enjoy small moments.

Proudest Mommy Moment: The professional trainer telling me that Carter is really good at soccer. He said, "Some kids have it and some don't. We call it soccer IQ and Carter's got talent. He needs to try out for travel league. If you lived in Europe, he would have already been recruited." I smiled, thanked him, and then told him that if they didn't play games on Sunday, we'd be there. Carter enjoys being one of the best ones on the team and I'm afraid he'd get too frustrated when everyone else is as good or better. I promised the trainer that I wouldn't let his talent go to waste, but that we'd have to find an appropriate time/place to do it.

Favorite cuddle moment: Sitting in the rocking chair, cuddling my 2 year old. She's usually very wiggly, but for a few minutes, she sat there, smiling at me and giggling. I am afraid that it was one the last times I will ever have one of my babies wrapped in my arms, cuddling and cooing and giggling. It was so out of the ordinary that I don't know that it will happen again anytime soon. It is a moment that I will not soon forget.

Favorite daily activity: Having conversations with Miana. She is fun to talk to. Her insights to life are so simple and innocent. It's wonderful to have a fresh perspective on all of our daily activities. I just love her and I'm grateful for the smiles she brings to me through out the day.

Favorite over all moment: Shooting baskets with my 9 year old. He had pinkeye and was no longer contagious but his eye was still red so I thought I should wait a day before sending him back to school. We were at the scripture study class at the church and I couldn't let him go play with the other kids in the nursery so he was sitting out on the couch reading a book. I had to go to the bathroom and I went to check on him. He was bored and wanted to shoot some baskets. I went in with him for a few minutes and was amazed at how well he handled the ball (I'm quite sure I couldn't even get the ball up to the basket when I was 9, let alone, actually make baskets.) Basketball isn't a sport that we have tried yet, so now I'm convinced that we need to get him started in it. This was my favorite moment of the week because I just enjoyed my time with my son. Neither of us was in a hurry, neither one was thinking about something else, and it was just the 2 of us. This never happens. I have had very little alone time with my oldest since his brother was born! It's something that I definitely want to start making more time to do.

It was an ordinary week with some extraordinary moments. I hope every week is like that!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"You are my fire at night when I'm cold...

You are the only one I want to hold. Baby, I love you..." When we were growing up, my mom had a tape that we used to listen to in the car all the time. I think it was Michael McLean, but maybe one of you could tell me who it was. The words to this song popped into my head today as I walked down the stairs and into the family this afternoon.
So, it's allergy season. I've been hit hard the last couple of days and I am really worn down. I'm tired, I keep coughing, and it hurts to breathe. It took some convincing to get me to go to the doctor, but I went - just to make sure it hadn't moved into my lungs. He basically told me to go home and take some over the counter stuff and wait out the season. Um, thanks? I really needed some rest so I carefully planned everything so I could get some. I set out everything the boys would need for their homework, I got them a snack, and I wrote them 3 notes. The first note went on the door, instructing them to go straight to the kitchen table. The second note said where I was and what I needed them to do - basically, I'm upstairs resting, please do your homework and chores quickly and quietly, everything you need to do is listed on your list. The third note was a list of homework and chores for each child to complete before going out to play. I then went upstairs to rest.
I heard the boys come in. 3-4 minutes later, Spencer was at my bedside.
"Mom, I'm sorry to bother you, but I think you should punish me."
"Punish you, what for?"
"I started a fire."
"At school?!?!?"
"No," (half chuckling at my question) "at home"
"Right now?"
"Yes, but I'm not really a professional, so I got 2 tall cups of water ready just in case."

Sure enough, fire was going in the fire place. He had already used one of the glasses of water to put out part of the log because he heard a strange, crackling noise and it made him nervous. What does this teach me about my children? They are too independent for me to leave them alone, even for 5 minutes. It was cold and the boys were wet from their walk home in the rain and Spencer was just trying to help. Needless to say, we have once again gone over the list of activities that require adult participation. It's amazing that my children are still alive.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Going, going, gone...

Today, I took Miana to school, stopped to pay tuition on the way out, made it home by 9:15. The speech therapist was coming to see Tayla at 9:30 so I quickly cleared the family room floor, sprinkled carpet powder on it, put in a load of laundry (I forgot to start it, but we'll get to that later), and started to sweep the kitchen floor when the doorbell rang, she was early! I quickly swept my pile of dirt into a corner and put the garbage can on top of it. I then went and answered the door, went upstairs to get Tayla and then apologized that I hadn't been able to finish cleaning before she got there. She was kind enough to wait in the hallway talking to Tayla while I vacuumed the powder off the floor. Therapy was okay today, but Tayla refused to talk. I think she said 10 words the whole time. Normally, that would mean a shorter session, but today was her 6 month review of goals, so I had to do some paperwork. The therapist left at 10:30. I sighed, time to get back in the car. Back to get Miana from school and head off to her 4 year old visit and Tayla's 2 year old visit.
At the doctor's office, the girls were loud, active, and BORED - not a good combination. Usually, the exam rooms have books in them, but ours only had a few pamphlets. I tried singing with them, Tayla was interested for 10 seconds, Miana made it through 2 songs. Miana kept trying to jump from the exam table to the spinning chair (how to explain to a 4 year old that in NO WAY is that going to end well. I kept blocking her jumps, knocking her back to the table. Meanwhile, Tayla kept sliding off the table and running to the door, opening it and trying to run down the hallway. I was exhausted, then the doctor came in. Everyone looked good, time for shots. Miana needed 4 of them, Tayla 1. Miana went first and was very shaken by the whole ordeal - to the point that she was even crying because she didn't want them to hurt Tayla the way that they had hurt her. We went down the hall to check out, she was still very upset. We got our stickers and Miana laid down on the floor, crying because she couldn't get her stickers off of their backings. She will often refuse to move as show of protest, I assumed this was one of those times. I got her up and we moved to the waiting room. I sat her down in a chair, got her stickers off, and we headed to the door. At the door she said, "Mom, I can't stand up." I said, "The shots shouldn't bother you that much" and I marched her out to the elevator. She immediately laid down on the floor of the elevator, I was both annoyed with her and starting to get worried that something was really wrong. I stood her up, we left the building. I took her hand to cross the parking lot-she was cold and clammy, I looked down at her face and saw that the color was gone. I now knew she was in shock and needed to lay down. If I tried to take her back into the office and up the elevator, it would take too long. If I laid her down there on the grass, I would have no way to contain the baby in that parking lot. I then walked her briskly to the van and I laid her down, elevated her feet, and then strapped Tayla into her car seat. I ran back around to the other side, said a prayer with Miana and did a quick look up of treating for shock on my phone. I looked down at her just in time to see Miana go ghost white and start to close her eyes. I told her it was okay to rest. She was out immediately and I wasn't sure what happened. I called the triage nurse at the office to tell them what happened, she and 2 other nurses came down and then a doctor came down a minute later. They monitored her oxygen levels and her blood pressure until she was okay and that was it. They said to get her food and that sometimes, kids react that way to getting shots. She was back to normal for a while, then for the rest of the afternoon she was very sore and very cranky.
I was so shaken from the experience that all way home I felt like I was going to pass out myself! I'm exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep... too bad we had 2 soccer practices first and a house to clean!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So proud of my angels!

You may be wondering what this is...
We have to back up to one Monday night in January. We were gathered around the kitchen table, each person with a paper cup and this bottle of root beer. We were having Family Home Evening. For those not familiar with it, it's where we gather the whole family once a week and spend some time together. Among other things, it usually has a lesson. We tend to lean towards things our kids need to work on, I think for the last 8 years the lessons are primarily "How to be reverent in church" and "Praying 101." This particular night the lesson fell on Dave. He opened the root beer (a family favorite) and made sure everyone had a cup. He began asking us questions and every time you answered a questioned correctly, he'd pour root beer into your cup - more or less it was drinking game, only we opted for the non-alcoholic version! He asked several different types of questions, but mostly he focussed on ways that we could serve others. We continued to play the game until the root beer was gone. He then asked the kids if they liked getting presents at Christmas. They all nodded and he told them that there were many children whose parents could not buy them gifts. He then challenge the kids to fill the root beer bottle during the year with spare change so that we could use the money at the end of the year to help a family in need. The kids excitedly agreed to help any way they could.
This brings us to yesterday. The weather was beautiful and boys decided to have a lemonade stand. I agreed to supply the lemonade and cups (although they had to agree to pay me 75¢ for the lemonade and 10¢ for the cups after they had earned some money). With all their supplies they walked up to the corner. About 30 minutes later, they came home with lemonade gone and money in their pockets. By this point there were now 2 other boys that had helped out so we they needed a little help figuring out how much each got. I first took out the money that was mine and then helped them divide up the rest. When all was said and done each had earned 51¢ for 30 min. worth of work. I reminded them to pay their tithing and walked out of the room. Within 5 minutes, Carter had given all of his money to his sister. "Why did you do that?" I asked. "Mom, she doesn't ever get a chance to earn her own money." I was very proud. A couple minutes after that, Spencer came into the kitchen and started dropping money into the root beer bottle. I smiled and said, "that's nice of you." He said, "I just want to help poor people have what they need." I was VERY, VERY proud. I am a lucky mom!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catch up post: Valentine's Day

Okay, so I'm a month and a half behind on this, but I wanted to share. For Valentine's Day, I decided to do a special dinner. The food had to be red, pink, or heart shaped. Here's what I came up with:
Heart-shaped crescent dogs (before cooking)

after cooking:

red, heart-shaped jell-o jigglers:
we also had red delicious apples, but I didn't get a picture of that. Finally, we had heart-shaped chocolate chip bar cookies:

The kids had fun - I hope! :) We'll see if I am more creative next year!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I had a really bad night. I just couldn't sleep. I woke up at 3:15am and then had to go to the bathroom. I found that we were out of toilet paper in our bathroom so downstairs I went. By the time I finished I was wide awake. I could not sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was 5am, but I think it took me another good 1/2 hour to fall asleep. My 1 child who obsesses about weather came in at 6 and got in bed with me. He kicked, tossed, and turned. Finally, at 6:30, it was time for me to get out of bed. He declared that he couldn't go to school today because there was a horrible thunder storm outside. I never did see any sign of lightning and thunder, just moderate rain and some wind. I drove the boys to school, got some breakfast and started my day. Dave took Miana to school. Tayla and I stayed home so she could see the speech therapist.
Fast forward to 10am. Therapy done, I'm ready to shop. In an effort to be more frugal, I have started clipping coupons. I have dreams of one day being able to spend less than $20/week on groceries. Other people do it, why can't I?? So, we subscribed to the Sunday only newspaper and got our coupons for the first time yesterday. I dutifully clipped coupons and looked over the ads. I identified which stores I was going to shop in, I made a game plan, wrote my shopping list on 2 envelops (one for each store), and put the coupons into each envelop. I was ready! Tayla and I were off by 10:20 and went to the first store. This particular store has a loyalty rewards card that offers different deals each week that not only save you money, but give you money back towards your next purchase. They had many Buy One Get One (BOGO) free or 1/2 off today. Some deals were BOGO and then you also got some money back towards a next purchase. I also had several manufacturer and store coupons to use. I strategically broke my list into 2 parts, putting all of the stuff that gave me money towards a future order into my first list/order and all the rest of the items in the next order/list. Last night, only a few of the items had a price listed in the insert, so I had to guess on prices. I guessed that the items I wanted would add up to around $40-50 in the first order and give me $19 back towards the next order. The second order seemed to be between $20-25 or so, but I could use the $19 towards that order, so I should only pay around $1-6 total for the second order. The problem was that I was wrong on many of the prices. My first total was around $100 (after my $25 savings in deals and coupons). I also got $22 back in money towards the 2nd order. I was starting to feel sick. We were at our weekly budget for groceries and I still had a 2nd order to go and the regular grocery store after that. The 2nd order was impressive, but I over spent on that one too. It was an impressive order, but I still spent too much! I spent $25, had $35 savings from deals and coupons and then I spent the $22 from the money back.
I then picked up Miana from school. Tayla had already been shopping with me for the last hour and was DONE. Miana was all over the place. We went to the grocery store, also armed with coupons and deals. The girls were good and entertained in the car-cart for the first 10 minutes. I did try to go fast, but trying to find the exact products that were on sale or that I had a coupon for was exhausting and time consuming. What happened next about sent me over the edge...
First of all, despite the fact grocery stores have carts that look like cars, offer free cookies in the bakery, check-out lanes that are tabloid and candy free, and offer free lollypops at customer service desk - grocery stores are not ACTUALLY child-friendly. If they were child-friendly (or rather adult-with-child-friendly) they would offer free juice boxes laced with valium at every entrance and provide carts that look like cars that are surrounded in sound-proof glass with doors that actually lock from the outside. With that said, picture my 2 little girls, fighting, yelling, clawing at each other and both trying to escape from different openings from the car cart. I hear, "Mom, Tayla just bit me on my nose. KISS me on my nose!" After a quick kiss on the nose, we went about half an aisle down and an older man jokingly says, in a very loud voice, while ramming my cart, "oh no, watch out! Women drivers!" He then chuckles to himself, tries to get my girls to smile at him while he continues, "I had one of THEM (referencing women drivers with disdain) cut me off on the beltway this morning, I was in an Expedition, didn't she know that I could crush her? I yelled, 'what? do you want me to park in your backseat?" Interesting story... did you not notice that I am... a woman?? After being mildly offended, I tried smiling and nodding as I helped him find the product he was looking for to get him on is way. I then checked my daughters over for any injuries they may have sustained from their little "collision." We finished up our shopping, seeing this man several more times and me finding it harder and harder to smile every time I passed him.
On to the checkout lane. I got in a lane that only had 1 person ahead of me and they were close to being finished. The lane was very narrow, so I had to stand in front of my cart to get the stuff out. Tayla climbed out of the cart, I put her in the child seat at the back of the cart, she climbed down onto the food and starting jumping on it, meanwhile, Miana climbed out of the cart started climbing on top of the car part of it. I finally got them under control by putting them in the now empty basket part of the cart. I got behind the cart to push it through the lane. I then had to dive onto the cart to reach over and grab my 2 year old who was getting ready to slide head first down the roof of the car. I'm not very tall so to reach her, I literally had to put part of my body on the cart. As I'm stretching over to get her, my 4 year old begins to climb out of the cart. I grab her with the other hand and I sit, in suspended animation, for what seems like an eternity, holding my baby with the right hand over top of the cart, and holding my 4 yr. old up with my left hand off the side of the cart. I finally get them both in the cart. In a desperate act to keep their attention, I hand Miana their coats and say, "I need you to stay here and watch these coats." She stops moving for the first time in the last 30 min. and stares at me. "Why? They don't have legs!" I was too tired to find the humor that was there, but she's right, the coats weren't going anywhere.
I finished the order, gave the checker the coupons and my rewards card. She scanned the card, handed it back to me and scanned the coupons. I went to put the card away, and asked, "you got this, right?" She glanced at the screen and nodded. I put it away, paid for my food and she handed me the receipt. "Wait a minute, it doesn't look like I got your card!" Apparently, it hadn't scanned, but some of the food showed up as discounted anyway. I then had to take my 2 girls to customer service desk to have the amount credited to my card (they are doing a gas rewards program) and wait for her to process my $16 in additional savings that I was due which she had to pay me in cash. At this point the girls are screaming, fighting, scratching, etc. and the lady offers them a free lollypop when we're all done with the transaction. - Thanks, lady, for rewarding their bad behavior and giving them sticking candy before getting in the car on our way home for lunch.
Long story short - I'm not cut out for couponing and my husband will be happy to know that although I will continue to look for manufacturer coupons in the Sunday paper and peruse the inserts for the best deals that fit our family, I will only buy food we are eating that week anyway and we are NOT going to 2 different stores anymore. It was too expensive, too long, and too exhausting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cure for boredom: Leggo my Lego

This morning I had a somewhat hectic morning that required the coordination of many "moving pieces." I had to get the boys off to school, get the girls up, dressed, and fed, and leave the house by 8:45 with all of the required paperwork. I then drove Miana to church building to meet up with Nana at 9:15 so that Nana could babysit Miana and attend the scripture study class (Miana got to play in the nursery.) I then went to the grocery store for a quick trip in to get a few things and then I took Tayla to her 10:00am evaluation meeting for Speech & Language therapy through the county. The meeting went well and we went back to the church to get M and thank Nana. Then home for laundry, lunch, and nap time by 1pm. I took a deep breath - I had all of my laundry folded, the dishes were all done, the house was clean and I had already checked Facebook and email. I was starting to feel... bored. Sometimes it happens when I've had something stressful that is overwith (in this case, the evaluation.) The boys came home from school, we got homework done, had a snack and that feeling of boredom persisted.
Fast forward past making dinner, eating dinner, and doing nightly clean up. I was getting the kids ready for bed when Miana says, very casually, "Oh, I forgot to tell Spencer - I have one of his Legos stuck in my nose." She then runs up the stairs to tell him. I run up after her and start asking all of the questions: How did it get there? When did it get there? Why on Earth?
After getting the other kids in bed, I commenced what can only be described as a life-size version of the game "Operation." Armed with the only pair of tweezers I could find, I tried holding her down on the bed, while tilting her head back, and carefully trying to remove the Lego without jabbing her or scraping the inside of her nose. She was trying as hard as a not-quite-4-yr.-old could to stay still, but let's face it - when someone is coming at your nose with something, it's hard to fight the instinct to thrash about. After many failed attempts and the worry that I was going to injure her (or worse, push it further in) I came to the conclusion that I needed professional help with the removal. Not sure if I should call for an archeologist or a plumber, I finally decided on a quick trip to InstaCare. It took 2 nurses and her mom to hold her down while her nose was cleared by a doctor in a matter of seconds. Phew! After a 5 minute dr. appt., (likely) $200 for the visit, and a nice lecture about how this particular size of Lego is inappropriate and dangerous for 3 yr. olds, I can honestly say, I am no longer feeling bored!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I had 2 conversations with 2 different kids in the past 2 days - both about the same topic. I wanted to write them down so I would not forget. Neither 1 is hysterically funny, both just made me chuckle a bit.

Background: at church, the Primary (children's organization) leaders choose 1 child each week to "spotlight." The parents fill out a questionnaire sometime beforehand and then the leaders give some of the answers and the kids all try to guess who it is. A few weeks ago, one of the leaders stopped me in the hall and said that they didn't have a questionnaire filled out for 2 of my kids. I quickly tried to fill them out the best I could and gave them back to her. There were a few things I was sure of for each kid (i.e. Carter loves corn dogs, his favorite color is green and has been from the time he was very little. Miana likes the color purple and loves the song, Popcorn Popping.) Fast Forward to this past Sunday. Carter was the spotlighted child. I mentioned it in the car on the way home.

Me: Someone in this car was the spotlight kid today, I saw him leading the song up front.
Carter: I was, but at first I didn't know it was me. They said the person's favorite color was green, so I knew for sure it wasn't me.
Me: Green has been your favorite color for a very long time so I didn't know you had changed it. What's your favorite color?
C (sounding a little annoyed): Aqua, duh.

Then today, we sang Popcorn Popping and I asked Miana if that was her favorite song.
M: No, my favorite song is the horse one.
Me: Which horse one?
M: The one that says (now singing) "The horse runs down the road and runs because he doesn't know that he's on the road and getting hit by a car."

Oh, that horse one...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dear Mom, I know you wonder what I do with my time...

5:00pm: Send very sick husband (chills/fever) downstairs to get on a conference call.
5:10pm: Get Tayla from upstairs (she snuck up there to play in the kids' bathroom) shut all doors so she won't get into any rooms she's not supposed to.
5:15pm: Call you (Mom) to set up a babysitting for tomorrow (Thank You!) so I can take Spencer to his dr. appt.
5:20pm: Go back upstairs to get Tayla, AGAIN. (the doors just don't stay shut!) As we come down the stairs Miana wakes up. It was getting late anyway, so glad she's awake, but now I have to be twice as vigilant.
5:25pm: Start getting out a few things for dinner, remember that I promised Spencer I would update his job chart online. Sit down at the computer.
5:27pm: Console a very upset Carter who waited for a long time to get a turn on the neighbor's trampoline, when it was his turn, he started to get on and the mom came out to tell everyone it was time for them all to get off. I made him a good deal, he could have some chocolate if he took the clothes out of the dryer. He went to do that.
5:30pm: I get up from the computer to go get dinner started, but first I go to check on Carter's progress on the clothes. I head into the living room, Tayla follows me, climbs onto the chair and all of a sudden I hear, "GO!" One of her only words she says clearly. She then jumps off the chair and hits the table - immediate blood dripping EVERYWHERE - I have never seen it come out so quickly. I grab her and put her back on the chair, grabbing her chin and start yelling for Carter to bring me some toilet paper. He brings me a whole roll. I sit on the floor, holding her body with my leg, her head with 1 hand and the toilet paper on her lip with the other. I have Carter bring us a baggie of ice. We sit on the floor for a few more minutes until she's done bleeding. She'll have a fat lip for a few days.
5:37pm: I get up from the floor, head into the kitchen to throw away the bloody toilet paper and wash my hands. I am about to start (FINALLY) making dinner when I decide I should go to the bathroom first. I went into the bathroom to see that the TP was gone and remember that I had left it on the floor in the other room. I go to get it and discover it's gone. I go into the kitchen to see if I left it there. I then go back to the bathroom and still can't see it anywhere. I call to Miana who is now upstairs. She comes downstairs to tell me that the TP is "out" in the boy's room. I think she may mean "up." I ask her to bring it to me. She comes down the stairs with an armful of unraveled TP. Oh, I see, she meant "unrolled."
5:45pm: I discover that the girls have toilet-papered the boys' bedroom.
5:47pm: I finally start dinner while listening to the girls playing upstairs in the play room. I run in to switch the laundry over.
5:52pm: I am cutting chicken while I hear the girls move into the boys' room.
5:55pm: I suddenly notice that the sounds I'm hearing upstairs are NOT coming from the boys' room, they are now coming from the bathtub in my bathroom. I wash my hands and run upstairs to get 2 half naked girls out of the bathtub and take them downstairs.
6:00pm: I go back to making dinner and wonder, what EXACTLY happened in the last hour??

Mom, when you come over tomorrow, PLEASE don't ask me why I didn't get my house totally cleaned up today. I just don't think I can handle it.

For those wondering how I knew the times, every time I walked back into the kitchen I looked at the clock and thought, "this hour is dragging on and on and on!" I'm exhausted and I'm ready to for bed! - It's only 8:10pm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quote of the evening: Carter on the Founding Fathers

Spencer and Carter are both working on famous american projects at school. They got to talking about everyone they were learning about. Here is a piece of that conversation.
Spencer: We were talking about George Washington, but for this project we have to pick an African American. [February is Black History Month] I chose Rosa Parks. Is anyone in your class studying Rosa Parks?
Carter: Yah, we have a Rosa Parks. We also have George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and someone is also going to be Thomas S. Monson.
Spencer: Do you mean Thomas Jefferson?
Carter: Oh, yah, it's Thomas Jefferson.

For a minute, I was impressed that the school was including American church leaders. Oh, well, maybe Carter will make sure he is included! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spencer's Family Trip

Spencer is working on the Family Travel Belt Loop and Pin for cub scouts. He has to do a journal entry about his trip and I thought it would be fun for him to do it online. Here it is:
It was fun when we left the house. It was really hard to pack our stuff. On the 2nd day we went skiing. It was fun. I felt wobbly at first because I didn't know how to steer. I learned how to steer. I went night skiing. I went on a green circle run 2 times with my dad. On the 3rd day, I went in the hot tub and sauna. I loved every activity. Stay tuned...

That's all we've gotten to today, we think there might be more fun later this afternoon! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Over scheduling kids OR an over scheduled mom

Being faced with a decision this week that is starting to stress me out. Spencer has asked me forever if he can do karate. Karate has seldom been offered by the community center and is far to expensive and intense to do through a martial arts school. In the last year, a karate school has begun offering introduction, just for fun classes at the community center. It's $50 for 4 classes (1 per week). Comparatively, it's not that expensive and may be just what he's looking for. It's for 6-9 yr. olds so Carter could go too. But that becomes a quick $100 out the door, but I'm seriously considering it. It's not the money so much, even though that is definitely a huge factor, as it is that if they like it, we'd have to keep going. Spencer is a kid that just can't have too much scheduled. He is in cub scouts right now which meets once a week and that's enough for him. I like the idea of him having something active also, but is it too much for a boy who can't handle it when his homework takes longer than 3:30 because it means he only has 1.5 hours to play with friends? He really is a 1-thing-at-a-time kid. The other problem is that he also has asked me if he can play soccer in the Spring. That will mean 2 practices a week and a Saturday game PLUS cub scouts. Carter really wants to play soccer in the Spring which means the same for him. Miana also wants to play which means Saturdays for 45 min. only, which isn't too bad, but what if the other 2 kids have games somewhere else? That starts to make for an overscheduled mom dragging 4 kids to 4 practices and 3 games every week... I don't know if I'm up for that. Dave should be available on Saturdays, but what about during the week? I may have to JUST DO IT.
I have often been annoyed by the parents (and this is totally my own opinion and pet peeve) that put sports before church activities. Spencer does cubs because it is sponsored by church. He loves it and has gotten really into it. There are kids that have sports games during the week and late at night. I'm totally against this. I will be annoyed if I sign Spencer up for soccer and then find out that they want him at a game when he's supposed to be at church (or worse) in bed. Children NEED a regular schedule, one that isn't full of surprises. They need to know that when they get home from school, they get a snack, do HW, then get to go outside to play. Not that on this day they have such and such and on that day they have something else. They just need consistency. I am also against playing 2 sports at once or 2 instruments at a time. It's too much! 1 sport and 1 additional activity(church, art, music). Now, playing 2 sports at once is probably fine for kids that don't go out to play in the neighborhood with kids and therefor don't get interaction with other kids. They probably need some extra kid time (other than their own siblings). But for kids that live in a regular neighborhood, have good friends that are their own age, it's okay to just let them be kids. Let them have a day when they just build something with Legos, let them have a day where they just run around the backyard and see whose paper airplane goes the furthest, or let them just build a fort in the basement. No need for a child to have to worry about if they have soccer today or if it's piano lessons or violin or basketball or karate. Their biggest worry should be whether or not their block tower will withstand the forces of their little sister!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to survive High School

I have absolutely no idea why this was on my mind this morning. I just felt like it was one of those things from my past that I wanted to write down and have for my own memories. This isn't written to anyone in particular.
Here it is, my guidelines for surviving high school and making it both a place you never want to leave and one that the teachers are proud to say they taught you.
#1 - choose friends that have similar goals and bring out the best in you. These are people who want you to get good grades, never want to see you in trouble, want you to succeed in life, and love you even if you make dumb mistakes, because no matter what, you will make dumb mistakes.
#2 - learn some basic sign language. Every classroom I was ever in had the same rule, no talking when someone else is talking. Just about every person I've met that had a friend in a class had the same problem - something to tell that friend that just couldn't wait. Writing notes can get the most information across without making noise, but you risk having someone else be able to get ahold of that information and share it with the wrong people. Sign language is a quick and easy way to communicate across the room with very few people knowing what you are saying. The teacher can't complain because you didn't talk - although if she says no communicating, then I think you should probably keep it at a minimum. This is not to EVER be done during a quiz or test, you could easily be punished for cheating, even if you didn't actually cheat.
#3 - don't ever cheat or let someone cheat off of you. Not EVER! Not even once. Your friends are wonderful people, you want to see them succeed, make them do their own work. Trust me, you never, ever want to feel the feeling you get when you cheat. I cheated once. On a spelling test in 4th grade. I didn't even realize I was cheating. If I had realized that I was cheating, I would have never done it. Once I realized that it was cheating, I had the most awful feeling inside, I felt sick to my stomach. It was soooo not worth trying to get a better grade.
#4 - peer pressure is going to happen. Make sure yours is to be the best person you can be (both the pressure you receive and the pressure you give) Note: see #1.
#5 - find teachers that you enjoy and thank them for their efforts. Not kidding, this will change your whole school experience. No need to be fake, just thank them, even if it's just a quick "thanks" as you leave the room. Teachers don't get enough thanks for all they do. They put hours into planning a lesson that takes them only an hour to teach. Sincerity goes a long way and they will remember that you are nice person when your grade is on the border of "A" and "B" and can go either way. That little every day "thanks" can mean the better grade.
#6 - Be friendly, not fake, with teachers. Remembering that teachers are real people, being comfortable and confident around them, and letting them share a little of your life does not make you a kiss up, it makes you a good person and a smart person. If you do it the right way, you can end up making a life long friend and you may end up with additional privileges at school.
#7 - take extra classes from the teachers that also sponsor the clubs you are in, teachers that like you, and ones that you have cultivated a good relationship with.
#8 - Be an office aid or teacher's assistant (to the teachers from #7). You will learn to interact better with adults, develop some leadership skills, and get a lot of time to do homework so you don't have to do it after school.
#9 - get good grades. Do whatever it takes, work your hardest. You will never regret hard work.
#10 - when you think something nice, say it out loud, when you think something mean, keep it to yourself. Doesn't matter who it's about.Being nice to everyone is a sure way to be popular, even if you're not friends with the "popular" people. You will have a more people on your side than they do, more people who remember you and like you, and never have to worry about who to sit with at lunch.

Everyone is awkward and insecure in highschool, those that succeed are also those that go in confidently, knowing that everyone is just as insecure as they are. Using some or all of these guidelines, my senior year was one that I didn't need a hall pass from a teacher, I had a laminated one. Teachers didn't care that I was late for class, they knew I had a good reason. My friends were awesome! I got to play around in art with absolutely no talent whatsoever. I got an "A" in an aerobics class that I was actually signed up for but the teacher announced to the other students that my friend and I were her classroom aids. We took attendance for her, sometimes did aerobics, but most of the time we got to just talk to each other while doing a few other things. I got to the point where I no longer needed to call home to get permission to leave school grounds, the grade level secretary just handed me the pass when I came in. When I was dating this one boy who worked at a bagel shop, I got to leave for lunch so that I could go see him several times a week (we weren't allowed to leave campus without permission).
My mom will have to correct me on the details of this story, but it's one of my favorites! My brother was so good at high school that one time he was failing a class and when my mom called to ask the teacher what was going on, the teacher defending my brother and told my mom not to worry and not to be too hard on him. What?? That's right, the school loved him.
I would love to know what got you through high school... any comments??

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I wanted to have a Halloween post but I didn't have any good pictures. Spencer was going to be a mummy, I spent $20 on rolls of gauze and last minute he decided he didn't want to do it, so he didn't actually goes as anything, Carter made his own costume out of a white garbage bag - he ripped 2 eye holes and was a ghost, and the 2 girls were hula dancers. It wasn't a good year for Halloween - it started with Dave with Strep Throat and ended with me getting a very severe case of it. There's always next year??

Utah-Idaho-Utah Thanksgiving 2010

For Thanksgiving 2010, we decided that it was most important for us to spend some time with Dave's grandparents. They are the last of our kids Great-grandparents and I love that my kids are old enough to have memories of their time together. Although Great- Grandparents were the main reason for going to visit, we still added in some of our favorite stops! First stop: Blackfoot, ID the home of "the other cousins" also known as "the second cousins." Blackfoot always feels so comfortable to me, I am quite sure it's because of the wonderful people we get to see! Dave's aunt always makes us feel at home and we love getting to see everyone. The kids always cry when it's time to leave because they love playing with the other cousins. During this trip up there, it was particularly fun to see how fascinated my kids were with the mounted animal heads in Carol's basement. My favorite comment was "but they're not really REAL,right Mom?" Ummm....
The next stop was back downto SLC to visit Dave's aunt, 2 cousins, and the new baby. I say new baby but he was old enough to be almost walking, we had just never seen him before... but sooooo cute! We had a nice, but brief visit with them.
Next it was on to Highland to visit with my sister, Paige and her family. Paige is... well... the best sister anyone could ask for! She is the kind of person that is really reserved until you get to know her, but once you know her, she has a way of making everyone feel that they are her very best friend. She has a way of always making feel that I am loved and understood, it's pretty awesome. (My other 2 sisters are awesome, too, I just didn't get to see them on this particular trip, so I'm not talking about them!) That night we were able to also visit with my dear friend Trisha and her family. Trisha is one of those people that makes everyone near her feel loved, appreciated, and just plain alive.Oh, I miss having her here, in my very own neighborhood! The next stop was in Payson, on our way down to St. George. We went to see Shane and Stacy, another one of our favorite families. Shane was Dave's roommate and is a ton of fun. Stacy is A-MA-ZING. We only stayed for a couple of hours, but it was a very inspirational visit for me. They reminded me where true happiness comes from in a time when I was feeling a little down. All of our visits on Sunday and Monday were brief, but those 2 days made me wish even more that we lived closer to my lovely friends (yes, Paige, you are also my friend).
St. George was colder than I had hoped. That's all, everything else was as wonderful as I had imagined. We got to spend some time (and Thanksgiving) with Dave's grandparents, parents, and sister. We also got to see his parents' new home. It is just perfect and has an amazing view. I took some pictures from their deck, but when I was putting the collagetogether, I couldn't find them, so I will have to post those some other time. We had a great time and it was sad to leave Grandma and Grandpa Young. They are really wonderful people. On our way out of St. George, we stopped by to see my aunt. I looked up her address the day before we left and found out that she lived across the street from our hotel! Ifelt a little dumb that I hadn't stopped by to see her sooner!! When we got back to Provo, the view and sky were beautiful from my parents' place (investment property-where we were staying) I couldn't help but take some pictures. It was a fantastic trip, took all of our savings and then some, but totally worth it!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cruise: Final Days

The last full day of the cruise was spent at sea on very rough waters (we were running away from a storm). We had a relaxing last day getting a couples massage and spending the rest of the morning up on the deck. We had lunch, took our daily nap and enjoyed a show that night. The next morning, we disembarked and while we waited for our shuttle, we enjoyed the most beautiful sky, it had a rainbow the the North and the most beautiful pink, purple, orange, yellow, and blue sky to the south. We went to the airport, caught an earlier flight home and I ran through the front door to hug my babies that I had missed terribly. In the next few days we were asked repeatedly what our favorite part of the cruise was and both of us replied that it was being able to take naps daily! Our least favorite part (but also one of the better parts) was being away from the kids. I was glad to be home, but sure do miss not having to cook and being able to take naps whenever I wanted! 10 more years and maybe we'll get to do it again!

Day 5: Isla Roatan, Honduras, Day 6: Costa Maya, Mexico

In Honduras, we opted not to go on any excursions. We walked around shops and played a round of minigolf in the extreme heat, which Dave won. We then watched the sun set as we left the bay, the sky was beautiful and it was made even better having my husband by my side. Weplayed scramble on my phone while waiting for the boat to set sail from Honduras.

In Costa Maya, we woke up early and watched the sunrise. After breakfast, we went to the Chacchoben Ruins. Ever since High School Spanish class, I have always wanted to visit ruins in Mexico and this was a fulfillment of that dream. I still hope to go to Chichen Itza some day and see the snake, but for now, my desire to see some ruins is satisfied. They were very cool!

Cruise Day 4: Belize

Belize was beautiful. We went snorkeling in Goff's Cay, a small island (about an acre or so) surrounded by corral reef. Belize has the 2nd largest coral reef in the world (Australia has the largest). We were not allowed to dock at Belize City (the coast you see in one of the pictures) so we took tenders (the taxi of boats) to Goff's Cay. Please note the curly hair picture of me, that's for Jaclyn, she calls it my "George Washington" hair. We also saw and awesome rainbow. It was a lovely place with very kind people. :)

Cruise Day 3: Cozumel

2 words - Atlantis Submarine!

We docked in Cozumel, Mexico and boarded the Atlantis Submarine which took us 120 ft. down. It was fun to go on a submarine, but I forgot that I am claustrophobic, which caused a bit of anxiety for me. Quite the experience!

Cruise Days 1 and 2: Port Canaveral - Day at Sea

I know I already started talking about our cruise, but it was so long ago I thought I should start over. Here are pictures from the first 2 days, September 18 - 19.