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.