Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our favorite bedtime stories

There are the classic Dr. Seuss tales:

Thanks Theodor for the fun stories, because what is more fun than completely made up words and totally awesome rhymes in your bedtime book?

Then there are our favorite comedies:

We love the pigeon series - especially his intense desire to drive a bus and own a puppy!

Thanks Mo for giving my kids belly laughs each time I read those books.

and oh the twisted fairy tales of Jon Scieszka. I owned his bedtime stories in high school (thanks mom!) and I read them to friends then. I never tire of reading them to my kids. Benjamin and I LOVE The stinky cheese man - and laugh together so much reading it that it gets hard to read.

Then the fantastic artwork books:

Who doesn't love the beautiful collage artwork and the happy nature of his books? Thank you Eric - one of your books was one of the first ones read to Benjamin at school on kindergarten meet the teachers night many nights ago.

As the author himself puts it "“With many of my books I attempt to bridge the gap between the home and school. To me home represents, or should represent; warmth, security, toys, holding hands, being held. School is a strange and new place for a child. Will it be a happy place? There are new people, a teacher, classmates—will they be friendly?"

And then there is Peggy Rathman

Oh Peggy how we loooooove your books. Good night gorilla is a well worn and loved copy in our home. As is 10 minutes till bedtime. I love these two books because they are heavy on artwork and short on words - so they can be quick reads or heavily embellished reads that take much minute dissecting of the event via the pictures.

We love to name the animals as they sneak into Zookeeper Joe's house

We love even more that in 10 minutes till bedtime we can see the good night gorilla book scene in the background.

In 10 minutes till bedtime the goodnight gorilla is a stuffed animal that frequents almost every page. And we love to scream out 10 minutes till bedtime, 9 minutes till bedtime. ... all the way down to BEDTIME!!!!!!!! - that page is always a hoot.

ps. there is a website about the 10 minutes till bedtime hamster tour, powered by hamsters!

and when you are not in the mood for a book you make up your own:

This is me and ella passing the ipod back and forth telling a chain story with no prior plot sketching AT ALL !!! I think we did pretty good.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blog Book :)

my second blog book came in the mail today - I am working them into the budget one at a time.

its soooo about time that I got around to this since I have been blogging since 2005 without any hard copy backup.


One regret I have is that when we started our official debt fee journey I did not keep perfect calculations of what we were paying off - I just had a word document going and I deleted accounts as they got paid off. I know we are in the ball park of $32,000+

Two cars
Two non-sallie mae school loans
Various medical bills
2 and a half credit cards

Plus along the way - unemployment, a new air conditioner, car repairs, ER visit for severe morning sickness, HUGE deductible for one hospital birth and cash flowing a homebirth.

We are so very, very close to being done with all debt except for our ginormous student loan and our house, both of which combined is less than half of the average home price in our school district.
Our sallie mae is the remainder balance of two bachelor degrees and one MBA -- NOT sold on the benefits of that MBA - five years later!

Two mental tricks I have always played in my mind to help with the debt snowball is - If I splurge on ANYTHING while I still have debt its the same as borrowing money for that - even if I am not technically borrowing anymore money. Not saying we don't splurge. We do, we just keep this mentality. Extra money spent is money that could pay debt.

If we have a car payment and pay cash for a nice restaurant - I consider that restaurant outing financed because its extra money that could have gone to the car debt.

If we added smart phones to our lives (which I would LOVE) that is a another thing financed because it subtracts from the debt snowball.

I take it even down to name brand... buying Pampers instead of store brand when you have debt - yep those poop catchers are on borrowed money.

In Dave Ramsey circles this mentality is called snowflaking - the micro version of snowballing debt.
You do your budget - delegating every dollar to its spending category. When you end the pay period or month and you made it with less money spent in any given category - you stop RIGHT THEN and pay the surplus to debt.

Some people are making 10 plus extra payments a month to their credit cards.

Spent 20 less on groceries than expected? - $20 payment to capital one.
No co-pay for the well visit like you expected - $25 extra on the car payment
etc, etc, etc...

We have exactly $2555 left on Capital One as of this morning. Last month I made three payments to them. Snowflaking ROCKS!

I just want it to go even faster!!

After this last bit of consumer debt - We are having a family "We're almost debt free party"
We'll celebrate the freedom of:

And then.... after this occasion, we may be diverging from the Dave Ramsey baby steps. I don't know - its something we are praying about, but our student loan is so big we may be putting it back with Baby step #6 - lumping it with home mortgage.

Even with a snowball of $1000+ dollars a month it could take us over 5 years to pay it off. I don't want to neglect our retirement that long. And even though I love living on a tight budget - I want to relax in a few areas. Vacations, outings, and experiences. My kids are growing so fast.

Oh the bondage that debt causes.

I watched this show the other night and it just made me sick to my stomach:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!








sorry Grandma - Cora wouldn't do the gloves lol...

better than last year.

last year I was in the fog of morning sickness. ugh. I still have nightmares about it. Can't even use the same body wash or toothpaste, smells bring back bad memories.
This year has been better - my garden is growing and Kyle has made the lawn look much, much better than it does in those pics from last year if you clicked on that link :)
I can't believe how little Cora was just last year. And we were wondering if the baby in my tummy was of the girl or boy variety.
anyway on to the festivities: dying eggs, hunting eggs, and cascarones for good luck.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I swear just the other day I blogged about my firstborn starting cub scouts. Then tonight he received his Webelos badge and Arrow of Light and crossed over into Boy Scouts.
yes you read that right:
boy. scouts.
he turns 11 next month.
one more year of primary.
one year until he receives the Priesthood.

The other night we spent some tender moments in the woods near our park after dark facing his intense fear of the dark. Then we sat together some more in the completely dark garage - It was NOT his cup of tea to say the least. I gave as many pep talks as I could muster and a little while later I heard him say a prayer under his breath. After that he said "this isn't so bad - I can see the ladder over there and the cooler" and I sensed he was relaxing.
I told him how happy it makes my heart to know he is sensitive to the Spirit. I can envision him going on a full time mission - If he does he will be the first person on both sides of his family to do so.
I am amazed by his fun personality, his resilience to struggles and his loving nature to his siblings. He says almost daily "Isn't PJ so cute mom?"

I am honored to be his mom.

I would just like to ask time to go a little tiny bit slower - this is going so fast.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

after dinner

and cuties
crazy bros

post meal fear factor
"one whole dollar...
can you eat this"

sampling included a pineapple piece with a dollop of green pea baby food and mashed carrot on top.

crazy sisters

Friday, April 15, 2011

House of Birth ...

Well there it is - my radio commercial.


my voice

but I am still glad that I could do something to help Pam.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

on the radio...

(my little chunk-a-lunk in there)

Pam called this morning and wanted to know if I would be recorded for the birth center's upcoming radio ads. She said my thank you note was wonderful and she couldn't think of a better endorsement.

I couldn't remember what I wrote so she emailed it to me:

Dear Pam,
Thank you for the role you played in one of the most amazing experences of my life! I will always cherish my natural childbirth accomplishment. It felt like the pinnacle of womanhood and a wonderful way to begin the mothering of my new son. I don't think it was an event I could have done in a hospital environment. I know your efforts are great, and the rewards not lucrative so please remember you will have this mother's grateful heart forever.


I still feel exactly the same and I so highly recommend chosing Pam as your midwife. The birth center - House of Birth is in Sherman - a little drive but not too bad.
She was FABULOUS (and about 2 grand cheaper than Allen Birthing Center - another great place to birth naturally as well.)

I hope the natural, out of hospital birthing movement grows and grows and grows and maybe the c-section rate will go down, down, down...