Dec 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

2008 was an amazing year for us, we completed our family and added a sweet little girl into a household of even sweeter little boys. I learned how strong and powerful I am, and he experience of my home birth has given me new found strength and confidence in myself as a powerful woman. Like I want hear someone else say, I was "baptized in the power in natural birth".

We were able to gain so much in a time of financial hardship; the lessons we have learned from our mistakes will forever change our lives, for the better. I feel we have matured so much from it and been able to reevaluate the way we were living our lives and cut back on spending, while improving our lifestyle (money is more fun to spend when you know where it is going and what you have to show for it).

I made new friends, rediscovered one from a long time ago, and lost an old one only by distance, not in closeness.

I was also humbled by the power of prayer when my dad recovered from a major illness that could have easily taken from us at a young age. So I am a little sad to see the end of 2008, but I know if life is what you make of it, 2009 can only be better!

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful 2009, and that the new year brings you endless blessings.

Busy busy busy

Sorry for the lack of posting, I have my hands full with my fourth now being mobile and getting the most out of hubby's last two weeks here in town. I do have a lot of mini updates though I wanted to share with you all.

On the 22nd I took Sophie to Children's Hospital in Aurora to meet with one of the best pediatric rheumotologists in the state, he was amazing and super sweet. He told me that Sophie is healing well from her reaction to my antibodies and she should outgrow her neonatal lupus really soon. He did tell me new studies suggest that she is at a higher risk of having Lupus sometime in her lifetime (10% chance) and that will become a 20% chance if I am diagnosed with Lupus myself.

Last week, Matthew reminded us that Bobby and I are setting a bad example in our play talk. He was wanting some cereal and Bobby was finishing up something and I was busy with the baby and so it took him a couple minutes to get Matthew is cereal. When Bobby got into the kitchen, Matthew responded "thanks for getting your ass up to get me some cereal" in the sweetest and most chipper tone. We had him repeat it because we thought we must have misheard. Once it was clear he was using trucker talk (and apparently mommy & daddy talk) we told him that was a naughty word and not to use it again. We then proceeded to bust a gut as soon as he was in bed for the night.

Christmas went well, the kids not only did not seem to notice the scaled back amount of gifts, the also did not care and seemed to enjoy their gifts even more this year than normal!! Cash Christmas all the way from here on out!! We got some lovely family gifts that will allow us to have a great "staycation" when we go visit a nearby aquarium and zoo in a neighboring city as a family. It will also afford us a membership to the local zoo. We also get to go pick out a new game for the family and my sister made us an incredible photo album from my visit up north this summer. I have a very thoughtful family!!

Bobby's passport came without incident even though we did not expedite it. I give them props, they were SUPER fast! Now all that is left is an updated drivers license, and some legal paperwork.

Sophie got her first babydoll today (well, technically yesterday), it's a darling little plus baby in a pea pod. She ADORES it. She also got to ride in the cart at the grocery store sitting all by herself and balanced very well. She loves to babble and her favorite sound right now is "da-da". It melts our hearts.

We had our annual New Year's gluttony feast too this year. Apparently my children think "get any kind of junk food you want, this is the one day of the year you can eat junk food" translates into getting a fruit salad platter and a cheese tray. Don't get me wrong, they did get fried chicken, and doughnuts, but overall I was very impressed with their choices when allowed to have "anything in the store". I am just glad this is once a year, my poor grocery budget for the next two weeks almost DOUBLED! YIKES! Junk food is expensive!

Dec 30, 2008

So much for Army Crawl

give me hands and knees!!


Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing


Sophie started crawling for real yesterday... Didn't she just start creeping???

Dec 25, 2008

Look what I can do.

Sophie is on the move, she REALLY wants to take off, but it is still slow going. I imagine it won't be long until she takes off!

Dec 24, 2008

"Your kids will be just like you"

Holy cow, my sisters and I cannot count how many times we heard that growing up... and tonight I thought I was getting someone just. like. me.

See, when I was a child I LOVED the bath, I could not get enough. My parents could not bathe without me, they would send me to a neighbor's house or outside with my sisters just to get a bath alone. Until I was 5, we had a one bathroom home with a claw-footed bathtub, no shower, just a tub... so baths were a necessity.

Tonight I was trying to take a bath and Matthew insisted on joining me. I lamented that maybe my mother was right when he squirted my back with cold water with his toy that nearly made me jump out of my skin.... but then he started singing to me and I had an epiphany... It's ME that makes a difference. He may be just like me, but I don't have to let it bother me. It was probably my most enjoyable and relaxing bath to date, because I really got to talk with my little guy and he was super entertaining. So I may not have had bubbles, and candles, and a good book, but I sure was happy my child turned out just. like. me. I just wish my parent's had seen it more like I do.

Dec 23, 2008

Elfed

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Elfed daddy & the kids. Not enough room for mama elf. Enjoy!

Dec 16, 2008

Funny funny boy

Last night, Bobby was upstairs reading Matthew his bedtime story and he farted, he promptly exclaimed "That was a mouse!!"

Matthew looked at him and laughed and said "Daddy, you got a mouse in your butt!!"

Kids say the funniest things.

Prepping for Iraq

Now that we have dates for when Bobby will be heading to Iraq, we are really starting to plan about what sorts of items he needs to pack. Warm weather gear, body armor, and a quality Surefire flashlight, are just some of the items we are discussing. He of course is planning more on the entertainment side of what to bring, of course his Playstation and Xbox are going... but because he has already done one tour over there we are better able to plan on what to pack. Of course, anything that we don't have on hand, will have to be ordered an shipped to him, thankfully, companies like LA Police Gear, will ship to APO/AP addresses. We will choose them for any of our specialty needs, they are the company my husband's old Army Unit trusted.


This is a sponsored post.

Dec 9, 2008

He got the job!

Bobby just got a call from the interview coordinator in DC, they offered him the job and we have accepted!! He starts January 12th, deploys for Iraq (we knew and actually hoped for this) in February, and then will return a year later. The pay is a little lower than I hoped, but it is still a promotion and still makes up for the higher cost of living, and the year in Iraq more than makes up for the difference I had in my mind because we can use that money to get out of debt and when you are DEBT FREE you can survive on a LOT less.

The next month is going to be a whirlwind of activity as we prepare, we need to update our wills, get me a few Power of Attorneys, get him packed, increase our life insurance policies and spend as much time preparing the kids emotionally as possible. I know this is going to be a great opportunity for our family, as bittersweet as it is.

Dec 7, 2008

Ack, bad computer day!

Yesterday my baby girl bumped a banner on an ap in facebook and next thing I know, my computer has gone insane thanks to the Vundo virus. Le sigh. Kaspersky antiviral I *think* has cleaned it all, but I am still getting random craziness, but I think my baby is on the mend.

Other than that, we had another Financial Peace University class tonight, it was a lot of fun and Sophie actually made it about 2 hours without me and I was only paged at the very end of the class. It was really refreshing knowing my baby girl will allow others to hold her without me being there because I have a few things coming up to where I won't be able to have her with me.

I found out that one of the other ladies in my class cloth diapers her children, it was pretty darn cool meeting another cloth diapering mom.

Dec 6, 2008

Netflix & Xbox 360, my new loves

My husband and I signed up for Netflix back in July 2006 when I was out of town for a few weeks and he was stuck home alone without anything to do. It was a way for us to break our movie buying habit and save a ton in late fees since we seem to hold onto movies for a few days and then watch them.

Lately I have noticed a HUGE increase in they movies you can watch instantly, but watching it on our laptops was sucky because it was tiny and the sound quality was not the greatest. Xbox 360 came to the rescue and integrated Netflix into its online feature making it possible to instantly watch streaming DVD quality video right on your TV!! YAY! Last weekend I think we watched half a dozen movies, from Underdog to some National Lampoon movies and even a very funny interview with Kevin Smith (Silent Bob, writer of Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc). My favorite part of the Instant movie feature, is that it is unlimited and free with a Netflix membership.

So if you have Netflix membership and an Xbox 360, check into it!

Dec 4, 2008

Jewelry at a low price

I just love beaded glass jewelry, and I have tried on several occasions to make it because it is so expensive in stores, but mine always looks like a child tried to put it together. The internet has really opened doors for those who are talented at bead craft to make it more affordable to the public.

When my babies are teeny tiny, I love a classy bracelet to remind me which side I nursed on last, especially when I am super sleep deprived. As they get older, a rugged necklace with a large circular bead or charm is ideal for the baby to play with and avoid distractions is exemplary.

Brought to you by our friends at http://www.abigailscreations.com

Dec 2, 2008

The Interview, Travel, and other stuff.

Bobby interviewed this morning at 9am est, I did not get a call three hours later until he was at the airport. He felt it went well and it sounds like what we are looking for so we are happy. We will know hopefully in a week if he got it or not. If he gets the job, he will likely be deploying to Iraq in Jan '09-Jan '10, we are ok with this and it will give us all time to get out of debt and get the house ready for sale without us having to pay for rent in DC and a mortgage in CO until we could join him 6 months later. We knew the job would require deployments every few years and honestly we hoped it would be sooner than later so we did not have to be apart longer than a year and have to worry about short term leasing and such.

He is so sick of traveling though, by the time he gets home it will be 12 hours since he first got to the airport. His long layover was extended when he did not hear that his departure gate was changed, and when he heard his name over the intercom, the woman at the old gate said "I did not page you" and brushed him off and he missed his flight and had to wait another two hours for the next one. I was really hoping to get him at 8, because the kids go to bed at 8, now they have to be up until 11 and they are going to be exhausted in the morning.

Locks of Love- Part Two

When I was pregnant with Sophie I mentioned the boys donated their hair to Locks of Love. I planned on it, but was worried about too many changes at once and decided to grow it a little longer. A few months ago I got my hair trimmed to get it healthy and today I took the plunge.

So they got about 16 inches of hair from me and I got my hair styled into an a-line bob. It will take a lot of getting used to, especially since I have had long hair as long as I can really remember.
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Dec 1, 2008

Daddy's Marbles

Today, before I took Bobby to the airport for his interview tomorrow, we had to stop by his work to get his phone chargers and print out some driving maps from the airport to the hotel, etc. We had finished at his office and were getting ready to go to the car, when Bobby had to run back in to get his maps that he forgot. Three year old Matthew looks up at me and says "what did daddy lose mommy??" and I told him "he lost his marbles". Matthew thinks a second and says "where are his marbles mommy?" and I said "they are in my purse, Matthew said "oh, ok" and that was the end of that.

So we are walking towards the van when Bobby spots a co-worker he wants to show off Sophie to, and she is talking to Matthew and admiring his boots and Matthew says to her "you know what?? My mommy keeps my daddy's marbles in her purse!" All three of us were laughing so hard and Matthew totally did not get what he had said, but none the less was super proud of making us laugh. She also agreed that her husband's marbles were also in her purse.

Nov 30, 2008

Lazy Sunday Mornings

Just wanted to share some pics with you of this morning from over on my Flickr page. Venture over there if you want to see more.

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Sophie showing off her GADs diaper.

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She's just now learning to balance enough to sit, she's still pretty wobbly.

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I am not sure what made her make this face, but it sure is funny!

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She REALLY wants to start crawling.

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I wish this one had been more in focus, I have a ton of pics of her crawling on the cat but I think the angle I was sitting at made the auto focus think I wanted the bed to be the center of attention, not the cat-eating baby.

Tomorrow

Bobby leaves for an interview in DC, I was prepping Matthew by telling him that tomorrow night, daddy would be sleeping at work, not at home, and that he was going to ride an airplane to Washington DC. Matthew asks "To my grandma's house in Washington??" and I said "No, grandma lives in Washington state, this is Washington DC". He gives me his silly little grin and says, "Oh, I know, he is going to Barrack Obama's house!" I had a little giggle and I told him he was right, that is where the Obamas will be living. I then showed him a map of the US and WA State vs. DC., and then we read Five Little Monkeys and I tucked him in bed. He is so cute sometimes.

Nov 28, 2008

Consumerism overload.

My friend Gina shared with me a revolutionary new tradition she was going to do that really got me thinking, we spend WAY too much money of Christmas, and by the 3rd of 4th gift the kids are on autopilot opening things they will never play with. Case in point, Austin got a $100 fly pen last year that has never even been used.

So Gina's told me that this year they plan to get "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read". I have taken it a step farther, I am striving for a 75%+ rate of used gifts. Either from eBay, thrift stores, or regifting. We are also doing one big gift, which will cost us nothing because daddy is giving the kids his old xbox that has been in our room. Bobby and I are exchanging time instead of gifts, since that is what I need most of all.

Best of all, I have presented this idea to the kids and they LOVE it, they had so much fun making their gift lists because they really had to think about what they wanted or needed most of all.

Check out this neat vid my friend Terri shared with me:


What a neat reminder of how little it takes to make a big impact. What if you take only 10% of your Christmas budget and give it to someone in need? That is such a small percent to you, but it could make a huge difference. What if everyone gave 10%, can you imagine how we could change the world? One tiny drop in the bucket multiplied by millions of other drops can flood the buckets and alter the world like we know it.

So what are you doing this year to make a difference??

Nov 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Pecan_Pie



Here is my pecan pie, first time I made the crust myself and I cannot wait to try it... YUM!

I hope you all are doing better than you deserve this year, I know I for one feel like I have truly been blessed this year and I feel like one day of thanks just is not enough.

Nov 23, 2008

Sickies

Blah, I hate this time of year... it never fails someone gets a bug and is nice enough to share it with the rest of the bunch. I was the lucky one who got sick first, it was horrible, two days in the bathroom wishing I could just puke and feel better. Finally about 24 hours later, my fever broke and I almost felt human again. Last night, we pulled up to FPU (Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes, taught through a local church) and Matthew throws up multiple times in the parking lot. So Bobby tells me to go on into class, take the baby and Austin to the daycare, and he heads home with Matthew and Christopher. Matthew is crying, he wants to go play with his 28 new friends at the church daycare, Christopher has forgotten how to listen in the confusion, and I am trying to juggle my workbooks, a baby and comfort Matthew. Thankfully he seems to bounce back quickly, about 30-40 minutes after he throws up, Bobby reports he is bouncing off the walls.

Last night, after only about 3 hours of sleep, Bobby wakes up feeling puny. Matthew has since joined us in our bed, and Sophie seems to think the offer of nursing on demand means she should demand it at 4:05, 4:15, 4:30 and again at 4:45... you get my drift. Matthew also seems to think that he is the cover king... he rules the heat level in the bed... first he wanted all the covers, and I got none... then he decided he was hot, laid on the covers and again, I got none. So now 4 of us are in the bed, Matthew is the only one actually sleeping. Sophie finally drifts back off, and Bobby gives up trying to sleep and gets up to shower... he has an interview today for a local job, more pay, ok benefits, but there is not a lot of room to move up in the company. The job he interviews for next week in D.C. is within his same company, awesome benefits, awesome pay, tons of opportunity, and did I mention is in our nations capitol??

So Bobby is now up, and dressed, he's looking spiffy in his new sport coat, & wearing a tie, he comes in to hug me goodbye, even though he has no plans on leaving for another 30 minutes, because he is hoping I can go back to sleep with the kids. Well, right before he has to leave, he comes back in and goes to the bathroom to throw up. He later told me he had to hold his tie to keep it clean. Poor Bobby, we have been married for 11 years, together for 12 and in that time he has only thrown up three times, once after bad pizza, once after another stomach bug we all shared as a family, and today. Thankfully he is the type to get the 24 hour flu for 4 hours, and he said once he threw up, he felt so much better. I just hope he continues to feel fine and has a good interview. I also hope Austin and Christopher are spared, as they were not exposed to me as much as Matthew & Bobby, and I REALLY hope Sophie does not get it, but my experience, my nurslings tend to not catch whatever I get.

Nov 22, 2008

This is not a joke...well, ok, the second one is.

This is a true ad that I found the other day while surfing the net, I have removed the information identifying the product or website, but I just had to share this screen-shot with you guys.
Flab to Fab

Wow, what an amazing product where your "before" can be that an overweight black woman, and your after can be an overweight white woman... LOL Were they in such a rush they did not proof the pic to make sure they were not using two before pictures before using a lookalike to claim to be an "after" of the first person??

Normally, this is how they look, with the before image looking nothing like the after.
Flab to Fab_Cats
Oh wow, it really must work!

Quick PSA recap.... if you are going to try to sell us bull, at least pay attention to your ad before you pay someone to advertise it!

Nov 19, 2008

Matthew & his bed; Austin & a new word.

Last night, I was getting the house closed up for the night, and as I was walking Sophie to her bed, I noticed Matthew's light was on. Normally I just reach in and turn off the switch, he cries and goes to sleep. Last night though, I felt the need to go into his room and look at him, good thing too... he was crying before I could turn off the light because somehow he managed to get his head stuck under his toddler bed. Not sure why Bobby did not hear him from his office (the next room over), but I could not hear him from the downstairs, so he either just got stuck, or was not being loud.

Austin is pretty innocent, he is not the kind of kid to use words he does not know, and does not swear (in our presence at least, I am pretty sure he does around his friends since he is at that age), and one of the deals I made with him is if he ever hears a word he thinks might be bad, I will tell him the meaning and if it is appropriate to use... so today my kiddo comes to me and asks if a word he heard at school was OK, or a bad word. I ask him what the word is and he says "douche bag"... now let me tell you, being put on the spot like that, I kind of panicked. LOL So I said, that word is not something you use, and it is a bad word, thank you for asking first. When I told Bobby he said "well, did you tell him WHAT it meant?" and I said I had not, and he was welcome to... I told Austin to go ask his dad what it meant if he wanted to know... Austin walked into the office and Bobby said if you don't want to know the meaning, just leave now, otherwise I will tell you but its gross. He spun on his heels and almost RAN away...LOL I was about his age when I learned about said feminine hygiene product, and it was pretty gross to me, and I am a female... poor kid might be traumatized for life had he found the meaning.

Nov 18, 2008

Indy Indy Jones

Tonight I was cooking dinner and in the other room I hear the boys watching one of our Indiana Jones movies... Matthew says in a sad voice "he is sad" so I ask him "who is sad honey?" and he says "Indy Indy Jones is sad mommy, his monkey at poison and died". I was trying to be compassionate while giggling inside. Indy Indy Jones?? *giggle snort* so I ask him again "whose monkey was it Matthew" and again he says "Indy Indy Jones' monkey". I called Bobby down to listen and he corrected him, and I told him "no, that's too cute, don't change it" and he popped me on the back of the head playfully and told me to quit encouraging bad habits. Well, at least I have my memories!

Holy COW!

Christopher is a smart cookie, I know that, but he is also a very trying child because he borderlines on obsessive, and is always spouting off useless facts. Remember Jerry Maguire? Did you know the human brain weighs 8 pounds?

Well, a few weeks back, Christopher's teacher sent a permission slip to allow testing for the gifted program, of course we consented, but I expected similar results to last time he was testes... one very high score, and low scores in literature/composition. Today the results came back... 73rd percentile for verbal, which was not bad... but in quantitative and reasoning he scored 92nd and 91st respectively and has officially been identified as gifted and qualified to receive gifted services. HOLY SMOKES! I did not expect that! This makes me wonder how he did so poorly on the entrance test to the charter school we applied for (he did not get in), but then explains how his standardized testing (thanks NCLB*tongue in cheek*) was above average and advanced.

I am not sure yet how these results will affect his curriculum yet, but I will call in the morning and ask questions. I am now curious how these results compare to his last test.

Nov 17, 2008

Thank goodness for Dave!

We finished baby step one! For those of you who are not Dave Ramsey nuts, baby step one is $1,000 in a savings account as a baby emergency fund. Well, the same day we set up the emergency fund, our $33 oil change morphed into a $400 brake (and fluid) emergency, one we were able to authorize without much thought, because we had our Murphy Repellent in place. No credit card necessary!

The next day we started Financial Peace University and I got to share with the class how excited we were to have found Dave. What a fun class, I urge EVERYONE who can to attend at your local church. Common sense information that is not so common anymore in an entertaining setting.


In other news, all of our referrals came through today, so hopefully we will have answers soon. Sophie goes to the cardiologist next week, the rheumotologist next month, and the dermotologist the month after. I go to the rheumotologist in January, MUCH sooner than the next available appointment in JUNE! Someone canceled right before they called me, what luck! Now I don't have to wait so long to get answers about my irregular blood work and spend less time hoping I do not have Lupus before I get answers.

Lots of other positives in the financial and career world for Bobby, but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, so just send some positive vibes my way that those chickens start popping out of their shells so I can share with you!

Nov 9, 2008

Oh the sales to be had!

Another fun day at the market, I got some killer deals at King Soopers (Kroger owned chain) today to include $39.70 in manufacturer coupons, $7.40 in coupons they doubled, $69.13 in Sooper Card Savings for a total of $116.23 saved.... this on $141.44 worth of groceries, a savings of 45%!! I got 103 items total from almost every single isle. I got quite a few freebies too, some Hefty Onezip freezer bags, a toothbrush, and 2 cans of Carnation evaporated milk for cooking. I also got 4 bottles of Tylenol for 50 cents each, a bottle of Dial handsoap for 40 cents, a tube of Colgate toothpaste for 50 cents, you get the point. Oh, and General Mills Cereals were $1.17 a box, we use this as snacks after school and stuff, for breakfast my kids don't eat sweet cereals. I wish I had discovered how much fun couponing is years ago! What a blast to budget $200 for groceries...have it total $257.67, swipe your card and watch it drop to $188.44. Then he started to swipe my coupons and I kept having to put $20's back into the envelope until he finally finished. All the while, Matthew was taking 1c rides on the mechanical horse ride. He took 3 rides on the horse in the time it took them to fill my 6 cloth bags (and some plastic bags for the meat & cleaners) with my groceries.

Today was our introduction class to Financial Peace University, it was a lot of fun. We start next Sunday evening and they watch our kiddos for free, wahoo! The classes are two hours long and run for 13 weeks. Best $99 we ever spent for a lifetime membership w/ unlimited classes (plus a work book, CDs, envelope system, & textbook). We will probably go back through with the kids when they are 16 or 17.

Nov 7, 2008

Off to see the rheummy

Saw my primary doc, she says she does not feel she can rule out (or diagnose) Lupus... she says some of the notes in her chart indicate I may have it, and my blood work does not look promising, but on the same hand I am pretty much not really showing many symptoms. We have two rheumitologists in town, one that she likes and one that she LOVES. She put in a referral to the ones she loves, but warned me I will have a 6-8 month wait to get in. She says if I start showing symptoms before that she can get me in with the other doc just until the ones she recommended can get me in.

Sophie's rash is nearly gone, and I can still see a few little red dots on her scalp, they are darker looking though, like little birth marks.

For those of you who have been telling me they don't know what Lupus is, here is a summary from The Lupus Foundation of America:

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body's immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. These foreign materials are called antigens.

In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself. These antibodies -- called "auto-antibodies" (auto means 'self') -- cause inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.


And the symptoms can include any number of the below.
* Achy joints / arthralgia (95 percent)
* Fever of more than 100 degrees F / 38 degrees C (90 percent)
* Arthritis / swollen joints (90 percent)
* Prolonged or extreme fatigue (81 percent)
* Skin Rashes (74 percent)
* Anemia (71 percent)
* Kidney Involvement (50 percent)
* Pain in the chest on deep breathing / pleurisy (45 percent)
* Butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose (42 percent)
* Sun or light sensitivity / photosensitivity (30 percent)
* Hair loss (27 percent)
* Abnormal blood clotting problems (20 percent)
* Raynaud's phenomenon / fingers turning white and/or blue in the cold (17 percent)
* Seizures (15 percent)
* Mouth or nose ulcers (12 percent)


So it is pretty obvious to see why I am so scared right now and am hoping I somehow am getting a false positive on my ANA bloodtests.

Nov 5, 2008

Phew, the elections are over!

Bobby and I voted for the first time ever this year, I am 29 and he is 31 and we have been BAD by not setting a good example for our children. I am not sure why, I remember my parents taking me to the polls every 4 years and telling me the importance of voting, but I guess when we were living in Texas in 2000 and did *not* support Bush, but we lived in a state where we knew he would win the majority and get the electoral vote, no matter how we voted and so I just did not care enough to go in.

I still don't agree with the electoral system, but oh well. The last week I have been talking to my kids about how important it is to vote, no matter what state they reside in. We took 3 of the 4 with us when we went to vote, but Chris had to get to class since the line was about 90 minutes long.

Anyways, I hope my children do as I say and not as we did and take the responsibility of voting more serious than we did.

Nov 2, 2008

Her cheating heart

When Matthew was a toddler, my sister got him this super cool ball for his birthday, it is squishy and bumpy and cool.

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Sophie decided today that this ball resembled her food source, and tried to nurse from all the little nubs of the ball.

She almost looks guilty for being caught in the act.

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I love this picture.

Look how good her rash is looking!

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Nov 1, 2008

What a week

Sophie had her follow up derm appointment, she had the ANA antibodies too, so her official diagnosis is neonatal lupus. Her pediatrician checked her out on Friday and is referring her to a pediatric rheumatologist (arthritis dr, since Lupus (SLE) is a connective joint disease) and a pediatric cardiologist (heart doctor, neonatal lupus can cause heart problems). Her ped assured me that neonatal lupus will not stay with her past infant-hood, and she won't have any issues when she becomes a mother.

I have an appointment with my primary care provider on Tuesday to discuss my own labs and see if she feels I need a referral for more testing.

Then on Thursday I needed to go back to my GYNs office... my IUD was coming out after only two weeks...my body was rejecting it. Crap, so much for 10 year birth control. She put another one in, but I already feel like it too is being rejected... if that happens I don't know WHAT we will do since any other method that I tolerate is contraindicated with breastfeeding. Please oh PLEASE let my little copper friend stick around this time!

Also on Friday I asked Bobby to look up his tracking for his books that showed they were out for delivery here in town for the last 3 days. Turns out the books decided to take an unscheduled visit to Tennessee. Last reports say it is back here in the state and will hopefully arrive Monday or Tuesday so Bobby can have them for the classes that started last week.

Trick or treating was fun, I wish I had taken pictures, but the "shop from home" ToT challenge was a success. Matthew wore a Hawaiian shirt, floppy hat, sunglasses and a camera and was the cutest "tourist" ever, he got so much candy. Christopher was Harry Potter, and looked so cute, Austin was a reaper, and Sophie was a little pink bear thanks to a little snowsuit Aunt Angie sent her.

Christopher turned 11 yesterday too, I can't believe 11 years ago I was a mama for the first time... He was such a good baby, he rarely complained about anything.

Miss Sophie was up until 3am last night, I am so tired!

Oct 25, 2008

Have a moment to gather my thoughts

Dr. Strangelove (Sophie's Dermatologist's nickname) called me yesterday. Remember how I mentioned he casually mentioned that her rash could be from lupus antibodies passed on from me and wanted me to do a blood test? Well the test was positive so I needed to go get a blood test for Sophie. We don't know if she has this yet, but from what I have read on the net if it is neonatal lupus the rash should dissipate around six months of age. Sun can make it worse and the treatment is the same as eczema. Thankfully, neonatal lupus does not increase her chances of getting systemic lupus erythematosus later on in life. Hopefully we will get her results back soon.

Here is the part that worries me... if she has neonatal lupus or not, I still have a positive ANA test. This could mean that I could have one of many different autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, OR it could mean nothing at all. Of course, now I am overanalyzing everything. I have been so tired lately... in my mind I am thinking "what if it is xyz?" when it most likely is caused by me not falling alseep until 1-3am and waking up all through the night by a 4 month old and then by a 3 year old.

I am trying really hard to remember the symptoms usually precede a ANA test, not the other way around, so who knows how many normal healthy people have positive ANAs without having anything wrong with them. For now I am trying to put this all out of my mind and try not to worry about what could be.

Oct 24, 2008

Winter is coming.

For the last week, we have fluctuated between needing windows open during the day, to actually needing the furnace on at night. We keep our house pretty cool at night and then all have heavy blankets, so it was time to dig out the down comforter and wash the duvet. I also washed the curtains, since they are red like the duvet and gave the room a nice vacuuming and airing out while it is warm enough to have windows open during the day. It actually snowed the other night, but it did not stick.

I baked a chicken last night, and saved the juices and bones and a breast so I could make chicken and dumplings today. This is a comfort meal that totally brings back great childhood memories. I had some carrots and celery that I tossed in, I would have added an onion had I had any on hand. It turned out well despite worries that I had burned the base ingredients... all I can say is THANK YOU super thick pots and pans. I totally needed a nice comfortable meal tonight. More about that when I can gather my thoughts and words for the next post.

PS. Don't forget to replace your furnace filters! We did that last week and it was so furry that it looked like a third dog and a couple more cats, flattened and formed into the shape of a filter.

Oct 21, 2008

What I learned today....

Orajel, applied to a wooden night stand by a toddler, and left undiscovered for 12 hours, will strip the finish all the way to the wood.

I am devastated.

***Updated with Pictures***

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IMG_3667

So Bobby and I had agreed he is out of the will, until I came up with the idea that the only thing he will get is all the stuff he has broke/ruined/marred.... at this rate, he will get more than the other three. *sigh*

Oct 20, 2008

We found the TOYS!

When Matthew outgrew his baby toys, I boxed them up and put them in the crawlspace. Recently I have sent the boys on a mission to find the toys, without any luck... but last night I had Austin look one more time and almost instantly they were found. YAY!

I just wish Sophie had been as happy as I was, I am pretty sure the key was to not overstimulate the baby.

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Matthew was trying to comfort her, he nailed her in the side of the head with a teething toy and he felt pretty bad. Poor kid, he's seems to constantly be nailing her in the side of the head with something.

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Kisses from her teddy bear did not help either.

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Giving her more toys did not help either.

Once she calmed down with some mama cuddles and I blocked the flow of toys and limited her to just one, she seemed to like them a bit more.

Oct 15, 2008

Water Dreams

So last night Matthew had an accident and peed in his bed....not bad considering this is only his second night time accident since we started night time diaper-free a month ago. Bobby walks him to the potty before we go to bed ourselves and last night he didn't, I guess we learned our lesson there.

So Matthew wakes up sobbing... he says "I had a water dream mommy, not a dry dream". So now I am trying to hold back laughter and console him at the same time... but he keeps on it "my water dream was wet, not dry... it was a water dream".

Oh my, thank goodness he did not use the normal antonym for dry... I think I would have bust a gut.

Oct 14, 2008

And the verdict is....

IMG_3649

Sophie's facial rash is eczema according to Dr. Strangelove, I call him that because of his bizarre bedside manner, yet charismatic personality all in one. He was very sweet to my children, kind and gentle with Sophie and playful with Matthew who was with me... all the while saying that it could be lupus passed on from me and my antibodies and that I would need a blood test... uh, wow, that was a strong statement casually put. He also second a third guessed me when he asked if I knew what Cetaphil was and I said I knew what it was.Are you sure?? He kept saying... uh, yeah buddy... this is not my first encounter with eczema. Oh, and then he volunteered that it will probably get much worse, engulfing most of her face and turning he cheeks scaly. Wow, thank you for making me feel even worse about what I stated was my worst case scenario diagnosis.

So he prescribed Sophie Cloderm cream twice daily on her spots, it seems to already be helping even after just a few days. It is a topical steroid, which I am not thrilled about, especially around the eyes, but when I talked to Dr. Strangelove about this, he told me "ehh, it's only for a few weeks, she will be fine" ugh. Thanks doc.

Oct 10, 2008

Sophie O

I love this outfit, it reminds me of something you would have seen on Jackie O. Sophie loves (to eat) it.

Sophie O 2

Sophie O 1

Oct 7, 2008

Peanut Chicken and Rice (no beans)

When I was laboring with Sophie, my mom made me a Thai peanut chicken dish which has become my comfort meal. It is not cheap to make per se, but can be made with many staples, much variation and just a couple ingredients you may not have on hand, but can easily get on sale and store (I had a coupon for the coconut milk a few weeks ago, score!) and the few ingredients you need are pretty inexpensive. I use rice instead of noodles and buy whatever I can with generic ingredients and use frozen pepper (see yesterday's bell pepper money saving tip).

This is the recipe that is on the back of "A Taste of Thai" peanut sauce mix, I just added my own little notes, variations, and elaborations; the original recipe is in bold. My changes also make the recipe stretch farther without taking away any flavor.


Peanut Chicken & Vegetables with Noodles

The way I make it, it serves my family of rugrats with enough left over for the next day when it is even yummier

INGREDIENTS
1/2 - 16 oz box (8 oz) Rice Noodles

I use rice instead, I use Jasmine Rice and use 2 cups uncooked rice prepared by package directions in my rice maker)
1 tablespoon oil
If I have sesame oil I use 1/2 T olive or canola oil and 1/2 T sesame oil
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
not sure how much I use, about 3 large breasts
3 cups favorite chopped vegetables
I know I use more, I usually use 1 large onion thinly sliced, 1/2 red/yellow/orange/green bell pepper and 1/2 a second color bell pepper (for color and taste), 3-4 boiled diced potatoes, and whatever else I have on hand, tonight I added one bunch of diced fresh spinach added in the last 3 minutes
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce, or 1 teaspoon salt
I use fish sauce
1-13.5 oz can Coconut Milk
1 packet "A Taste of Thai" Peanut Sauce Mix, both inner envelope
s This is the one ingredient that I use name brand, all else I buy the cheapest available

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak Noodles according to directions for stir-fry.
OR prepare rice according to directions
2. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken (I cook the chicken fully before adding veggies), vegetables and Fish Sauce (don't be alarmed when you add fish sauce, it stinks like sweaty gym socks... tastes much better than it smells). Sauté 3 minutes.
3. Add Coconut Milk and Peanut Sauce Mix. Bring to boil while stirring and boil 3 minutes, if you use spinach, add it now. Add drained noodles and combine. Stirring, cook until noodles are firm but tender, if using rice, just serve over rice.

If you want to add a little more spice, you can add Sriracha Sauce either a couple small squirts when you add the coconut milk and peanut sauce mix, or have it on the table and allow the individual to season it themselves. This stuff packs a punch, so less is more.

Oct 6, 2008

Rice and beans, beans and rice.

RB_BR

I have been on a quest to live a better life, part of that was to bring Dave Ramsey's teachings into the family and the other part is to learn to be happy with what I have instead of wanting bigger and better. Living frugally is living smart, not living poor. Why live on steak and lobster and have debt when you can live on rice and beans and pay a few hundred more dollars on the credit card balance.

Today I had a light bulb moment when I realized that with small changes, I would appreciate my house a little bit more. When I was at the library I found two books that caught my eyes, one was by "The Queen of Clean", Linda Cobb, called The Queen of Clean Conquers Clutter and the other was Mary Ellen's Guide to Good Enough Housekeeping. I recognized that part of my problem was lack of organization making my house feel smaller than it is and seem difficult to clean because it is cluttered.

When Bobby came home today, he came upstairs and found me in the bathroom with 100% of its contents in baskets in the bedroom and I was washing the light bulbs, he looked at my boys and said "uh-oh, mama has gone off the deep end again!" and he rescued Sophie and went to another room to play with her so I could finish my task.

I think I got rid of 3 bags full of junk, from magazines to expired products to the makeup I rarely wear, but Matthew frequently uses to "paint" my bathroom door with. I also got all the products off my counters (like mouthwash and detangler) and they now have new homes in my clean medicine cabinet or under the sink. I also hung a couple tiles that I have had for years that I planned on hanging after I painted, but we never got around to painting. My bathroom feels SO BIG now, I love it!

I am so impressed with how well Bobby is doing on our new "cash diet", he decided he wanted a Coke, but we have been soda free for a few weeks now, so he got into his change jar and pulled out some silver to run to 7-11 to get a coke, I asked him if I chipped in some quarters if he would get me one too. He calls me from Safeway and says "wow, it is so expensive there, I decided to go to Safeway to get a better deal". This is something I have been nagging at him forever, but Dave is right, it is a LOT harder to spend a dollar than it is just to swipe your debit card. I cannot believe how on board he has been with all this.

*************************************

Finally, a rice & bean recipe for you all.

Dad's Red Beans & Rice (this is a recipe I grew up, my dad made this a lot)

1 cup of long/medium grain rice
2 cans of red beans (undrained)
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 kielbasa (cut into 1/4 inch disks)
1 T minced garlic

Prepare rice according to package, either in a rice cooker (my way) or on the stove top (my dad's way). Saute together onion, bell pepper, kielbasa, and garlic over medium heat. Combine cooked rice, undrained red beans, and kielbasa & veggie mix in a 2 quart casserole dish and bake until heated through on 350 (about 30 minutes).

I like to serve this with cornbread since all of the ingredients for those are staples.

*Money saving tip... get your green peppers when they are on sale and freeze them, that way you always have green pepper on hand. I wait for them to go on sale at King Sooper (our local Kroger chain) and I buy red, yellow, orange and green peppers and then slice them lengthwise and freeze on wax paper on a cookie sheet for an hour, then I put them into sandwich baggies and put in the freezer (1 pepper per baggie). Then I dice about 2 or three green peppers and do the same, again one pepper per baggie. The pre-freezing keeps them from sticking together, so you can use half a baggie in this recipe without having to thaw.

Oct 5, 2008

Great Dane Reunion

So today Isis had her reunion that the breeder hosts every year for the families who have purchased dogs from them can all get their dogs together and let their dogs play, talk about how much they love their four legged family members and for the breeders to see all their "babies" grown up.

Bobby was feeling sick, so I worried the day would be a bust, but the weather was great, the kids were great, Bobby did not complain (much) and Isis had A BLAST! It was the first time we had let her roam off leash (it was hosted at a small neighborhood park) and she was so obedient and sweet, it was like she was a different dog. Her tail was up, she was socializing with the other dogs and people and she made sure she was never out of our sight.

The surprise of the day was when we ran into the boys' old taekwondo teacher. He and his wife not only had a new puppy, but a brand new baby girl (like 10 days old). Master B. had met Isis when she was 8 months old and mentioned that he wanted a Dane more than anything and someday he would get Mrs. B to agree. :D Guess he finally wore her down! His pup, Bella, is ADORABLE and I look forward to some day getting another pup... of course this is like 10 years away, but I told Bobby he could pick out the next Dane, he plans on getting a male. I am hooked, I will never get another breed again.

Oct 1, 2008

Free Range Children?

The other day I first heard the term "Free Range Kids", and when I started reading more about what raising a free range child is about, the more I got it. DH and I always joke how different things were when we were children. His mom used to send him a few blocks away to play in the 3rd largest river in the US (Columbia River) where he and his buddies would shoot at each other with their BB guns (no one shot their eye out), or rode bikes down hills too steep for cars to drive up in the winter with a friend on the handlebar.

We have friends whose 10 year old has never ridden a bike out of fear. In my hometown Tag has been prohibited at the school, all because of fear of safety for the kids. Puh-lease! What ever happened to kids learning natural consequences? Why do they need full body armor to go out and play in the back yard (heaven forbid they set foot in the front yard without at least two, armed, secret service agents). Heck, when I was a kid, my parents would not even know if I had been abducted until at least 20 minutes after the street lights went on. And what the hell is up with 'play dates'?? Are parents now days so over scheduled that they have to pencil in little Johnny's play time between pee-wee soccer and his gymnastics class? That is what I love about this neighborhood, if a child wants to play with my kids... they knock on the door and ask if they can come out and play.... get this, WITHOUT their parents hovering behind them making sure their 10 year old can walk a block away without being stolen.

Now I am not saying we should air drop our children over a South American jungle with two quarters and a rubber band and expect them to MacGyver their way home, but seriously, don't you think our kids should get to share memories of skinned knees, chasing the ice cream truck, drinking from the hose, building forts in the woods, walking to the supermarket with a dollar to buy candy or soda, climbing trees, skipping rocks and wading in the creek, and snowball fights?

Now I am not criticizing anyone else, you parent your child the way you see fit, but I found letting go works for us, as long as my child shows they are mature and capable of making reasonable decisions. At the park, I have no problem watching Austin climbing a tree 10 feet in the air, or walking to the convenience store to buy treats for his brothers. When I was in labor with Sophie, I mentioned Christopher broke his arm on his scooter. He was so proud of his injury, just like he is of his appendectomy scar. When Matthew falls down we tell him to "get up and do it again". We still kiss his owies when he hurts himself, but we don't act like the world is going to end if he draws blood when he falls down.

Someday, I hope my kids can look back and tell their own kids how much fun they had when they were kids, and all the risks they took and adventures they created.

Sep 29, 2008

Financial Peace University!

Woohoo! We are going to attend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in November at a local church. Woohoo!! I am so excited! :D

Sep 25, 2008

Yay, TWO milestones

So, last night, my little boy slept in underwear and woke up dry!! YAY! I was pretty hesitant to make the plunge since his Fuzzi Bunz were wet every morning when he woke up, but he has been potty trained during the day since August, so hubby convinced me it was time to trust him. I only have one kiddo in diapers now, that means less diapers to wash.

Speaking of the kiddo in diapers... baby girl rolled over from back to belly, and then belly to back this morning. :) This is a day for milestones indeed!

Sep 21, 2008

My freaking grocery store haul

I just got my first AMAZING score at King Soopers today (Kroger), the first time I have ever saved above 34%, I saved 72%!

I got

3 gallons of milk
2 boxes of cereal
2 onions
1 4 pack of cottonelle bath tissue
2 packs of bologna
1 bag of spring mix salad
1 jar grape jelly

Shelf Price - $23.17
I paid $6.57!!

Milk was $1.97 a gallon, -.91*3 or -2.73
Bologna was BOGO, -1.89
Salad was 2/$5, +.75 coupon (dbl +.45) for -1.99
TP was .99, -.50q (dbl -.49) for FREE!
Then I had two $2.00 off q's on anything in the store (I got these my last trip for buying Glade plug in air fresheners)
AND a $5 gc from The Denver Post for subscribing

Woohoo! I saved $16.60!! Plus I got .10 a gallon off my gas to boot!

Sep 19, 2008

I got tagged!

Terri Tagged Me!

Here's the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 6 random things/unspectacular quirks about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

6 Random Things


  1. I am covered in baby poo & breast milk right now, lovely huh? I started leaking while nursing Soph and before I could change my top, she pooped, but because she was nursing it blew out (her diaper gapped just a bit from being on her side). Then she promptly fell asleep. Everyone knows rule #1 of parenting is "NEVER wake a sleeping baby" and since she has not napped today AND has been a pill, we both get to suffer until she wakes up.


  2. I adore documentaries, the more obscure, the better. One I can think of off the top of my head that I loved was "Little Man", or "Born into Brothels", I liked that one too.


  3. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, but no one can tell because rather than organize my garage correctly, I just let it stay dirty. When I vacuum, I have to pull out the hose to get the edges, as I cannot just "trust" the vacuum to get it good enough.


  4. I HATE owing people money. It eats away at me, even if it is just $5. If I win an auction on eBay, I pay for it within seconds of getting the notification because I just cannot stand giving my word to pay something and not paying it. If I forget to pay something, I really makes me feel guilty.


  5. Along the same lines, I almost "dined and dashed" last week without even realizing it. I ate lunch with a couple friends and when we were splitting the bill I misunderstood when she was telling the waitress how to split the bill (and now I feel like an idiot because she meant her daughter's food when she said "I am paying for her too", duh) so when I thanked her as we were getting ready to leave she was like "I didn't get your lunch" and the waitress never gave me a receipt so I just assumed. Thank goodness I caught it in time because I would have left without paying and not known it, OR figured it out at a much later time and felt like an asshole for life (and I would have of course gone back to pay, even if it was months later when I realized).


  6. I wish yahoo IM had a spell check. I adore spell check, and will often copy and paste stuff into Word if it has no spell check. I love Fire Fox for having built in spell check. I have made sure to integrate spell check into Outlook Express any time I set it up. I am not a horrid speller, nor am I a wonderful speller, but it bugs me if I misspell something. - With that said, I am SURE my blog is chock-full of spelling and grammar errors.


So here is who I am going to tag, lets see who does it! :)


  1. Earthmama

  2. Tali (who is probably too busy with school to do it, but check out her blog anyways, her adorable little guy just got his first "boy badge" and he's just too darn cute not to go look at)

  3. Dana (PG-13, or maybe just PG)

  4. Elisa (also PG-13 or just PG depending on your level of prudence

  5. Amy

  6. Allison

Sophia vs. the Government

Two months ago, when we picked up Sophie's birth certificate, I headed to the Social Security office to get her SS card ordered. They would not give me one because I did not have enough documentation to prover her identity, I had a little giggle because she just did not seem to understand by "home birth" I meant "not at the hospital" because she mentioned about a dozen times that "the hospital she was born at was supposed to file that" to "can you get certified copies of her newborn screening from the hospital?" We had only at that point had well baby checks from our midwife as our insurance was also having issues getting her added to our policy.

So time rolls on, the insurance FINALLY adds her to our plan after the papers were submitted a second time Sophie has her well baby exam so I ask her ped to write a letter so I can get her SS card. I get it home to find the doctor has added an i to the end of her last name! I find out yesterday, that the medical group she goes to has a Sophia [our last name] + i in the practice, hence the confusion on the letter. Can you believe it??

Wait, it gets better!

My midwife calls today to see if she had left her air pump & thermometers at my house when she attended my birth (she hadn't) and I asked her if any of her other clients had ever had this nightmare getting their babies numbers. She said "no, it should have come in the mail 4-8 weeks after I submitted the paperwork." I guess in that paperwork packet that Bobby and her filled out to get her birth certificate, ALSO goes to the SSA to get her SS card. I did not know this (I was a little busy the next day when they did the paperwork) and Bobby only remembered after I reminded him (he was a little sleep deprived also). So Jan (midwife) calls her contact in the records division and her checks on her SS card and apparently it was rejected on 6/17 for incorrect characters in the address. Our address is odd because we do not have a N, S, E, or W in the typical sense, it is in the street name itself. So my address is not like 123 N Main, my address is more like 123 Main Ave W, and the sign at the end of the block says something like "Main Ave W". I guess SSA did not like that, and rejected it without notifying Jan or us.

So I call the SSA again and fight with the automated service that wants nothing else but to get me to go to the website or use the automated library, but neither one can answer the question so I hold for about 15 minutes where the woman explains to me that they cannot re-do the paperwork because after 30 days if an application is rejected the info is dumped... BUT since no one *told* us they could not process it, we had no way to *fix* the error.

Since she does not have a photo ID as her second proof of ID, they gave me a list of "acceptable" documentation, most stuff being things she would not have like school records, drivers license, etc. They said I could use her original medical records (which my dr's office cannot release for legal reasons) a certified copy of her records (which she did not know what the difference between a copy & a certified copy was), but not a notarized copy. They would not accept records from my midwife, who is a state licensed, legal medical provider, but they would accept shot records if she had them, which is not even signed by a Dr, but rather initialed by a RN. Whatever.

Jan is sending me Sophie's PKU results which is from the state, and I am hoping her ped mails me a corrected letter soon, so maybe I can brave the trenches of the SSA again next week. I also have to update Austin's social security info anyways, so I am hoping I can kill two birds with one stone so to speak. I hope we can get this done ASAP so we can get her added to his VA benefits. What a pain.

Sophie's pretty face

I called the insurance yesterday to see the status of the referral for Sophie's rash; to my shock and dismay they stated they never received the request! I imagine in the hubbub of the last work day before the holiday weekend it either got forgotten or the person(s) who do the referrals was gone for the day and did not get the message. When I called the ped's office yesterday and explained the situation they said they would get right on it and call me with the answer.

This morning they called me to say the insurance denied my referral because they felt it was unnecessary for her to see a pediatric dermatologist without the referral from a regular dermatologist. They gave me the name of a great dermatologist, but when I called she did not have any appointments until DECEMBER!! I was almost in tears because Children's Hospital would have seen her in 1-2 weeks. So I took the next available with ANY derm. and that was almost a month away.

I am angry, annoyed, and feel guilty. Had I called back on Tuesday after Labor Day she would closer to being seen. I am annoyed my insurance company won't let me go to Children's Hospital. And I am angry my baby girl has to wait another month before someone can tell me what is causing this rash, she is so uncomfortable.

On the positive side, none of the typical eczema treatments are making a difference at all, making me believe it is a bad case of "cradle cap" or something else. Eczema in my mind was kind of the "worst case scenario".

Sep 18, 2008

Frugal Living

You may have noticed a theme lately of grocery shopping on the cheap, to other ways to save. I have been turned on to Dave Ramsey by some of the girls on one of my message boards I go to. I have started listening to him on the radio and DVRing him on TV and I have reserved some of his books at the library... unfortunately he is in high demand and the books have around 80 people in line for them, so I purchased one from eBay and I am going to go through my books to see what I have to sell to local used bookstores and then look to see if they sell any used copies of his books.

So one of the main teachings of Dave Ramsey is his "baby steps" which are found here, but they include:


  1. $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund

  2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball


  3. 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings


  4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement


  5. College funding for children


  6. Pay off home early


  7. Build wealth and give!
    Invest in mutual funds and real estate


I have reevaluated my thinking and realized even though we have enough to live on, we were not putting enough in savings or towards debt. I have found *simple* expenses to cut and made it a priority to save more on groceries, and eat at home instead of eating out. I found if I look at the sales ads and use that to make my menu, I can get great deals at the store, keep my menu interesting by not making the same 7 things each week. This last trip I got enough meals to last us almost a full month, and I only spent around $150! This includes meat and veggies at every dinner, so I am not skimping on nutrition. I saved almost $100 last week just by shopping from the sales adds and using coupons; since they have the sales flier online at my local stores it is easy to make my list Sunday, organize my coupons, and shop on Monday or Tuesday. I also buy a lot of the sales items and freeze what I don't need for later use, this goes beyond just meat, I also freeze bell peppers, bread, cheese, etc. If I keep this up, I can save 50% of our average grocery bill, and 75% of our food budget, all while improving the foods we eat. The savings can then be passed to my savings account, then we can start snowballing debt to pay off credit cards, and my car loan.

Sep 15, 2008

This is freaking funny!



It had me in tears I was laughing so hard!

Sep 12, 2008

UPS Vs. Microsoft

I forgot to update about my afternoon with UPS yesterday.

So I call UPS with the same song and dance that Bobby had used the night before. They tell me to go ahead and go to our customer service office that is open from 11 am to 6 pm. I get down there with the receipt from us mailing the Xbox to TX, my mortgage statement with mine & Bobby's name on it and our address, and the "we missed you" slip with tracking # and of course the two little ones in tow. I explain that the person who took down my hubby's info spoke broken English, and that he did not verify the spelling of our last name (it was not even misspelled honestly, a it was a whole new word!).

Well the UPS woman said she could not release it because the name was wrong, but that the story is just too crazy NOT to be true. That and he freaking got our name, phone number AND address wrong! Our street starts with J, he spelled it with a G... my street name is super easy, so think "Gar Lids" instead of "Jar Lids".....??

So she called her manager or maybe another co-worker over, they both looked at the receipt, the tracking #, the package, my ID, the mortgage statement, made some jokes, had some laughs and fawned over my kids. I told her we joke that my baby's daddy is the UPS man (since we don't have a milk man) and she said "I will have to tell James I met his daughter, her coloring is a little light though"... LOL

The error his Xbox was apparently a time consuming, impossible, or difficult fix, because the Xbox we got yesterday is brand spankin' new (or refurbished), this *almost* makes up for their clueless phone reps, thank goodness UPS is on the ball!

Sep 11, 2008

Not going to talk politics...

...but if you are a political figure... shouldn't you have a freaking clue about OPSEC???

Can this information hurt me?
Can this information hurt others?
Can this information destroy property?

If yes... SHUT UP!

Photobucket Image Hosting

'nuff said.

Sep 10, 2008

I've lost that loving feeling

In several ways:

Earlier this week I told you how I joined the Grocery Game... well, I found a couple similar sources of the same information.... except it is FREE!

Coupon Mom

Pinching Your Pennies

A Full Cup

Here are just a few to get you started.

Christopher.... that boy is driving me bonkers!! Started today when he came home and told me he had detention for three "refocuses", or reminders to do better. He got his refocuses because he failed to take his science journal to science class... something that would be easy enough to do had he just paid-a-freaking-attention to the teacher, his classmates, etc. Ended when he was told to get ready for bed without finishing his homework because he still was not done at 7:30 pm. He started at 3 pm and had no more homework than normal, he just played around instead of doing his work.

Outsourcing.... Our Xbox is being held for ransom by the shipping company because the person who made the work order did not understand our last name (not a difficult name... think Smith or Jones or Brown). The name he put on the work order does not rhyme with our name, or start with the same letters. He also got our phone number wrong by two digits. So when the delivery company tried to leave the XBox with Austin, he did not feel right leaving it because the names do not match. Bobby spent close to an hour on the phone with the company trying to straighten it out, without any resolution.

Sep 8, 2008

Le Sigh

Still no referral for Sophie for her skin issues, but her face is starting to lighten. My friend is a MA and has been asking around and one of the MDs she works with said it looks (from what he can see) like cradle cap that has spread onto the face. So we used some Selsun Blue (since she already had it on her head) and after one treatment she is looking better, we will do another treatment tonight and see if it improves it some more.

Bobby is almost finished with his first week of school at his new school, and it seems to be going well. I am exploring low cost textbook solutions and playing around with a new program called "The Grocery Game", so far I am saving around 31% off my grocery bill. Had we paid the shelf prices, we would have spent $185.52, instead we spent $128.80 for a savings of $56.72. Not bad for my first week. Now I just have to work on cooking more meals at home and more careful meal planning. I am going to pay closer attention to my frugal living message boards on Diaper Swappers and the Grocery Game board.

Aug 30, 2008

Cuteness & baby face

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Here is Sophie next to the letters her talented aunty Autumn made for her. I love how they turned out, I totally was not expecting being able to get the letters for her name as I was seeing them for about $14-16 each on Etsy, and I cannot see myself spending $84-96, though I was tempted to.

Sophie had her well baby check on Thursday. At 12w1d she was 9lbs 11oz and 22 long. She is healthy and growing on track. Her rash on her face earned her a referral to a pediatric dermatologist up @ Children's Hospital in Denver.

Aug 26, 2008

Diapers and Rash, but not diaper rash.

Wow, what a week so far and it is only Tuesday.

Everything is breaking in our house... Bobby's XBox 360, the drum kit to Rock Band, thankfully both are still under warranty. I also need to get off my tail and replace two other things under warranty as well, my kitchenaid pan and the broken toy bar I need to return for Sophie's swing.

Bobby is also starting school again this week, to get his Bachelors. Unofficially he will only need about 3/4th of the classes as his credits transfer very well, and his entire associate's transfers in full.

Last week I took Sophie to the ped to see the cause of her horrible rash (below)
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Turns out my poor honey has sensitive skin and a very bad case of baby acne. It is clearing up a little bit, this is what is looks like today:
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Hopefully it clears up soon, poor little girl.

I also got the CUTEST diapers last night, they are embroidered on the bum! They are called Green Acre Designs, or GADs and I adore how cute, and well made they are. We won't know how they fit until she gets a little bigger though. Aren't these darling???
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Brown w/ pink snaps & fleece with a monkey.

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Pink paisley butterfly with purple snaps & fleece.

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Yellow celestial image with blue snaps and fleece.

So so cute!!

Aug 20, 2008

Lessons in patience, love, and support.

Let me start this by admitting that Sophie is a princess... of all my babies, she is by far my most demanding. Most days, I won't even admit that to myself as it does not change how much I adore her, nor would I want to change anything about her. This little diva seems to have needs that are above Maslow's Hierarchy and even when she is fed, dry, held, rocked, etc.; she still seems to have some unfulfilled needs we just cannot meet. Bobby and I have both accepted that and just do our best to comfort her, because we know this too shall pass.

Today I was slacking in the patience department. Sophie wanted to nap on my lap, I wanted to get something to eat since it was 1pm and I had not yet been able to get a thing to eat or drink... I was starting to feel shaky and irritated... I set Sophie down on her sheep skin hoping she would stay asleep, with no avail, so I just ate as quickly as possible while rocking the chair she was in. At the same time, Matthew is yelling at me because he was on meal #3 and wanted more... I kept telling him to come here so I could hear him, and he just kept hollering from across the room. I could almost feel my blood pressure rising. In a weak moment I yelled out "everybody STOP!!" No surprise that my tantrum only made things worse and I felt like I was going to collapse under all the weight on my shoulders.

I looked up and I said "Lord help me, I need a break!" and the most incredible thing happened... I smelled roses. No, I did not stop and smell the roses... I literally smelled the fragrance of roses, a smell I would recognize even 20 years later... it was the fragrance of my grandma Josie. My house that moments before smelled like pre-teen boys, cats, dogs, diapers, and lunch, now just smelled like roses. I picked up Sophie and it almost seemed to be coming out of her pores. She stopped crying and smiled and in my head I could almost hear my grandma saying "Dinky-Dinky Doo-Doo", a little game she played with all of us when we were babies. The smell of roses was still all around me and I felt her love all around me. I no longer felt like I was alone to carry the burden and that she was here to help. You cannot imagine how strong it made me feel to know that any time I was in need, I can know I am truly never alone.

I write this while holding a baby and a preschooler on my lap, with tears welling up in my eyes. I would not have believed it if I did not experience it myself, but I now believe that even after we lose a loved one, they are never truly gone and just when things seem to be at their lowest, you can call out for help and they will be there to pick you up when you are in need.

Aug 16, 2008

Neglecting my 5th baby....

Yes, I have been neglecting my blog, I am such a bad blog-mom. Since my return from Spokane & Alamosa, I have been uber busy. School started on the 11th so I was busy making sure Austin & Christopher were ready. Isis got fixed and is recovering from surgery well. Sophie had an appointment with her midwife and was 9 lbs, 3 oz. Thursday she weighed more, but I forgot to write it down... I met her new ped when I took her in to have her rash around her eyes looked at. Her new ped rocks! And the rash is baby acne that she is scratching the heck out of.

Austin had his physical yesterday and passed his hearing test... so now we know his constant "what?" and ignoring us is not due to hearing loss, but due to him being 12 and full of pre-teen angst. Is there a cure for that??

Christopher had back to school night on Thursday, his teacher was really looking forward to having him in his class... everyone knows (and loves) Christopher. He is such a sweetie. He had no concerns about Christopher's math abilities, so now I am confused about how he did so poorly on the placement test at the charter school.

Also, I have a new Sophie pic for you all.
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I got the cutest diaper for Sophie yesterday, hopefully I will have new pics of her wearing it up soon.

Please keep Bobby & his family in your thoughts. His grandmother passed from lung cancer last week. This happened a week after she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed.

Aug 5, 2008

Camping in Alamosa

Saturday we left to spend the weekend in Alamosa. We rented a 'Kabin' at the KOA because it was the only way to get DH to agree to it since he HATES tent camping (I don't mind, but was not looking forward to it with 4 kids, one being 2 months old, and 2 large dogs). DH had Monday off, so we spent three days, and two nights and the trip was a ton of fun.

The purpose of the trip was to go to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, talk about a BEAUTIFUL place to go, and silly me, I forgot my camera. The sand was so soft, it was like sticking your feet into silk. We set up the lawn chairs in the shade and the kids splashed around in Medano creek and had a blast building dams and sand castles.

We also stayed up late and roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores and enjoying each others company. Bobby loved that we had a charcoal grill and a campfire to cook over, he is somewhat resentful that I insisted be buy a gas grill because I wanted to be able to use it too.

On the way home, we puttered around in San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, established in 1851 and Fort Garland, which was built in 1858 to protect settlers and abandon 30 years later. It was commanded by Kit Carson, who is the namesake to Fort Carson, Bobby's current place of employment and his last duty station while he was in the Army.

On the first night, we were sitting around the fire, looking at the stars and enjoying the silence (all 4 kids were sleeping inside) and some coyotes started to howl in the north; soon some coyotes south of us joined in. There must have been 10 coyotes howling all around us when a cow mooed and the coyotes abruptly stopped howling and did not start up again for almost a full minute. Bobby and I bust up laughing and I don't think I would have believed it had I not heard it with my own ears.

Jul 31, 2008

Fun with PSP

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Lookie what I made tonight! :)

Jul 29, 2008

SAHM's have unique duties

My special project this week is to teach myself how to become a plumber. We have three toilets in this house... the one in our bathroom is fine, the guest bathroom has a tendency to run and plug easily and the basement bathroom is leaking, but I don't know where from. Last night I sealed the water connection with some teflon tape and let it sit all night with the water on (it had been off for weeks to avoid water leaks) and this morning I found a puddle under the toilet again.

Since I do not have $300+ to have a plumber out, I have decided it is time to teach myself. I figured the easiest source would be a book from the library... however to my surprise, the most information I found in the easiest to understand format was actually on YouTube! So I watched about an hour of videos on the subject and the one said to put tuperwear under any of the possible areas for leaks and wait, and voila, the one on the left of the tank was wet, since I just fixed the water connection I checked it first, and it was still dry.... so I flushed over and over again and I finally found a drip... not the seal under the toilet, but the left tank bolt! YAY!!

This video pretty much held my hand through removal and replacement of these bolts, down to reminding me to take the bolts with me to Home Depot.

I originally overlooked the bolts because I never saw them drip, they always felt dry to the touch and I was almost about to pull the whole damn thing up and replace the seal, which would have been a HUGE project and pretty close to out of my league.

The next toilet, I know the problem with it, the seal is bad and needs replaced, however I have done nothing about it since it is a Mansfield toilet and requires specific parts from a dealer, and you cannot get these from Home Depot *grumble grumble* and I have not had the time to make a special trip yet all the way up north, for this kit. Guess where I will be headed today??

*** Update ***

I am a master plumber. LOL

Not only did I fix the basement toilet by replacing the main seal between the tank & the bowl, but I also replaced the bolts and voila, no leak!

I also replaced a seal in the guest bathroom upstairs, moved the water level lower so it would quit leaking, and used an auger to clear the S bend.

Auger - $39
Valve Washer - $2.25
Bolt Set & Sponge Washer Set - $5
The ability to hold this over my husband's head that I am handier than he is - Priceless.

Jul 27, 2008

I need a vacation!

I am finally back from my 3 week long vacation in Spokane and I totally need a vacation! The short version


  • 3 weeks away from home

  • 4 kids- ages 12, 10, 3, and 1 month

  • Just me, Bobby did not come

  • 3400 miles driven total

  • Four 12 hour days of driving



Every year I try to send Austin & Christopher to see my parents, either by flying them up to Washington alone, or by flying or driving with them. Last year we flew them up first, then Bobby, Matthew and I drove up together and then the five of us drove back together. The trip from Colorado to Washington is about 1200 miles each way.

This year Bobby did not have enough vacation time and it was even more important for me to go because my dad is having some health issues and because I wanted my family to meet Sophia. I knew it would not be easy to drive that far with a 4 week old and a 3 year old, but they were actually very good. My van has a DVD player in the back and all the jacks necessary to hook up a game system, so the three boys brought their Gamecube and kept themselves entertained while the baby slept through most of the drive. We made a point to stop once or twice a day at parks along the way to get the kids out of the car. In Billings the hotel we stayed at had a pool with a water slide and the five of us unwound in the pool, which was heavenly after the long drive.

My dad looked amazing, we don't know what is causing his health problems, but he has to be on oxygen and we are all pretty bummed about that because my dad leads such an active lifestyle and the oxygen pretty much keeps him tied down. My dad is a non-smoker, and the doctors had no answers to why he is having breathing problems, despite spending a week in the ICU.

While we were there we visited with Bobby's nieces and nephew who we met last year for the first time. To make a long story short, Bobby and his brother had a falling out. We have always liked ex-SIL, but lost contact with her when we moved away. I met her back in 1997 when she introduced us to her oldest daughter, R., despite her husband's (Bobby's brother) wishes. I found BIL on myspace, contacted his girlfriend who gave me his ex-wife's number, and we have been in frequent contact since.

Here is a picture of her youngest daughter with my youngest daughter. Click to see a larger image.
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And here is a picture of her three and my four.

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From Left to right is Austin -12, B. - 9, and Matthew - 3
Christopher - 10, A. - 6, R. - 11, and Sophie - 5 weeks.

In addition to spending time with my parents and his family, we also got to go to Faragut National Park in Idaho for a family reunion. My mom and her sisters and their families get together once a year for a long weekend campout. Since my dad could not stay the night and I did not want to camp with a baby, we drove back and forth each day (1 hour drive each way). My sister kept Austin and Christopher with her so they were able to stay the night. Matthew loved playing in the dirt as you can see.
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It was so nice to spend the weekend with my sisters, Aunts and uncles, cousins, and all their kids. My oldest sister made me the nicest gifts ever, she is so talented. She scrapbooked a little brag book, and hand painted Sophia's name on wooden letters, she also got her the most darling little outfit. All three were in Sophie's colors, pink and brown, which I did not know were also my sister's colors. I need to take and share some pictures, the scrapbook has got to be about the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen, I wish I had an ounce of her talent.

We also spent a lot of time up at their cabin in Priest Lake Idaho. The older boys stayed a little over a week up there with my parents, where the little ones and I drove back and forth a couple times (2 hour drive) since the cabin is unsafe with exposed electrical and a loft without rails. They are building it themselves, so they are waiting for inspections and such, and with my dad's health issues, they did not expect the process to take so long. Since they are only a couple miles from the lake, we spent almost all our time at the lake. Click on the pictures below to see larger images.
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Time flew by so fast, I only got to spend a couple hours with my best friend of 28 years, and my best friend of 14 years.

My mom started the potty for penny campaign with Matthew, and now he is almost potty trained, I am so proud! He is now peeing in the potty with maybe one or two accidents a day, and rarely needs reminding. Even more shocking is that he is pooping in the potty, something we could not get him to do when we almost had him trained a few months ago!

Leaving was bittersweet, I was so homesick and missed Bobby so much, but I did not want to leave either. I had such a wonderful time with my parents, and the boys were ready to leave me forever and live with their grandparents forever. My 11 year anniversary is tomorrow, and school starts in 2 weeks, so it was necessary to return. On the drive home, I did get some amazing pictures of Sophie, you can't tell in the pictures, but her eyes almost looked violet in the light.
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She was so good in the car, she only cried when she wanted to nurse. The rest of the time she either slept or just looked around contently, or smiling at her brothers.