Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Pictures

Wow I know its been forever lol we've been so slammed at work!!! OK here's the Christmas pictures! More to come... I have to take photos of Brent's workshed (that's the big present I made for him I've been talking about forever)

this is Alina opening her baby doll -- she was so excited! She skipped the big slide with the bow on it, and ignored her stocking and candy and opened it right up.

Here's the boots painting I did for her. It and Larryboy are now on her wall.

This is my living room wreckage once all the gifts were open....

This is Alina chillin out, checking out the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I took pics of Raziel all day and always got the top of his head.... LOL. This is him opening a curious george stacking toy. He wasn't interested, haha.

He just picked up his blanket and went to his room. I think he was voting to get back in bed!

Brent got the first season of the Spiderman Animated series from Alina. That was the present she got him that she wasn't allowed to see because she would tell him what it was... Like the pillow we wrapped in a box so he wouldn't guess it. She brought him the box to open stating "it's a pillow, daddy!" ahh... what will I do with her?!?!

Raziel's top of his head (again) playing with his blocks and his blanket.

and lastly, Alina enjoying her stocking candy.

So that's our Christmas. It was wonderful. We woke up at 7:30 and made breakfast, turned on the heaters, etc. Kids woke up around 7:45 and were sooo excited. Brent made purfume for me this year and that was AWESOME. It smells so wonderful - I thougt he'd bought it but there's evidence of purfume making supplies in my master bathroom (I wasn't allowed in there for a week) so I know he's telling the truth. He also gave me a gift card of $65 to redecorate our living room (SWEET!!!). I'm really excited about this because I LOVE decorating. I think I'm painting the walls green, painting the trim white, recovering the sofa and chairs with white (removable so I can wash them), painting the furniture black, getting an entertainment center and moving our family-hand-me-down-heirloom chest of drawers to the dinning area to hold sheets and things... and then maybe getting a big white throw rug and framing some b&w's of the kids on the walls in black frames. Besides that, Brent gave me a few filmmaking books, some girly spa things, and the soundtrack to Spring Awakening on Broadway. I really enjoyed our Christmas... it floors me how thoughtful my hubby is :-)

I'll blog soon about the workshed I made him. I've got things to do :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


OK Christmas pictures will arrive on Monday. I took a bunch and can't wait to share them but my camera is not in my bag and must still be in our Living room somewhere so I will be posting a big post with stories and pictures and such on Monday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Amazing Find

I wish I could tell you what it is. I think I'm really going to have to go back through the last few months of my blog and see all the things I haven't been able to say for fear of ruining Christmas and just make a big blog of how excited I have been about the things I have found!!

Brent's big present this year has been a big project. It's not at all like I thought it would turn out, but its turned out really well. Today I ran over to the Habitat for Humanity store looking for that finishing touch and found a REALLY nice addition.... something I would paid like $75 for (because it's such good quality... and I'm cheap, so it'd probably be worth ALOT more) and I bought it for $15. I can't wait to show you what I bought! It's big, Brent already knows that. My co-worker is going to haul it down to my house for me in his truck and Tyler is going to unload it for me cause there's no way I could do that being pregnant... it's too heavy.

I went over to the Dollar Tree today and purchased a few stocking stuffers along with the actual stockings themselves. I remember pulling out our stockings when we set up the tree but I don't know where they've gone to... usually I hang them right away and I didn't for some reason, so now they're missing. But, I bought 4 at the dollar tree, so no harm done. I got all of Brent's stocking stuffers and bought 2 things for Alina's stocking (princess dress-up shoes and pacies which were 2 for $1 and I've never seen at a dollar tree before!) but I've left the major stocking shopping for Christmas eve when I can do it with Brent. I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow morning *gasp* I know, stupid. But, we just got paid today and while I was planning to go this evening, I can't really do that with the delivery coming to my home sooooo... groceries on Christmas eve at walmart... sounds fun *HAH*

My boss stopped by and dropped off our Christmas bonus this year - $50! cash! no taxes deducted, no needing-to-be-deposited-or-cashed! I'm glad... I needed it, lol. Well, we always seem to need it, but with Christmas shopping and such its been especially fun and challenging to balance "go ahead and buy it honey" and "we need to pay this bill first." If only Christmas were in January, with tax return season... hahaha. Oh well. The bills can wait a few more days :-)

I'm alot less stressed out today. I think it has to do with getting paid which always makes my life a bit easier.... not waiting and hoping that a certain check doesn't clear leaving us with very limited funds until payday... its easier when the things are deducted after we get paid. I guess it'd be easiest just to not have any bills, LOL. If I ever get there, I'll let you know how to achieve that.

I'm proud though. I got up, got to work in a timely fashion, got the kids dressed and fed and teeth brushed, remembered to bring diapers to the sitter and pay her, even remembered to buy wrapping paper at the store so we can finish up wrapping the presents! I even had breakfast and took my prenatal vitamens. I haven't forgot to do anything, I wasn't late, and I found my amazing find on a 30 minute lunch! I have one more purchase to make (about $25 worth) and I'm done done done done done. Brent's present has been so much work, and I've had to spread it out over checks... but now I'm finally (almost) done. LOL.

Can't wait to come on Saturday and show you all the pictures from Christmas eve, Christmas morning, etc. Alina's excited because she's down to her last mini-present since tomorrow is Christmas eve and we open a normal present and then everything else on Christmas day. She knows its getting close, finally! She asked me this morning if we could go ahead and open all the presents yet.

Oh, and one last thing to tell you about. For Christmas, one of the things Alina bought for me was paintbrushes (I'm a good present feeler and guesser and Brent said I was right). Apparently when she and her daddy went to the store to pick out presents for me, she got the one thing she'd already decided on (wow, my 3 year old wanted to get me something specific) and then she looked at Brent and said "daddy, can I get mommy some paintbrushes since I ruined the ones she had?" Brent said it melted his heart and he wanted to cry when she said that. I wanted to cry when he told me about that!

It was weeks ago - Alina did ruin some of my paintbrushes... she dipped them in glue or something else goopy before I got up one morning and we had forgotten to shut her door the night before. She painted all sorts of things - the wall, blank canvases, books, paintings that I'd finished years ago.... etc. I was really upset that she did that but most of the stuff cleaned off but the brushes she played with were ruined - I tried everything I could to get that stuff out and nothing got it out. I told her that day that she wasn't allowed to play with mommy's paintbrushes without asking because she ruined them. I can't believe she remembered me saying that to her. It really brings into perspective how intelligent she is and how much I let her get away with because I think she doesn't know better but she actually does!!! Nonetheless, she is a sweet, caring little person and she remembered, weeks later, that I'd said she ruined my paintbrushes and she wanted to buy me new ones. Ah, I love my little girl.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Amazon Box Mystery Solved

A little old lady in a beat up red car pulled up last night and came up to our porch and knocked on the door. She told Brent she wanted to explain the box and what happened. Apparently she lives down the street and has a 6 year old, an 8 year old and a 9 year old (2 boys and a girl). The postman delivered the box to their house by mistake and the kids just went to tear it open, not interested in who it was addressed to (any kid that age would do the same, I'm sure). They got out the things and looked at them and weren't really interested and left them laying out in her living room. Well, she works night shift and when she got up around 5pm to get ready for work, she walks into her living room and sees all these random objects and an amazon box. She asked the kids where it came from and they told her the mailman brought it. So, she gathers up all the things that were in the box, re-packages them nicely, puts them back in the box and tapes it up. She asked her husband (man in the white van) to drop it off at our place on his way to work.

Ahh. There are good people still in the world. I was so glad to know that some teenagers didn't steal mail off my porch!! I've always been a bit nervous about our neighborhood after those people broke into our house 2 or 3 years ago... and I still wake up at night sometimes and have Brent go look around and make sure that it's just the washer machiene or the dog or something making that noise. I'm sure it drives him crazy but that's how I am!!

In other news; I am getting rather uncomfortable being pregnant. Today and for the last few days I've felt like my stomach was very tight... which is odd, almost like slight braxton hicks contractions. I'm only like 27 weeks but gosh I've been rather irritable. The baby is moving a ton which is great and means he's healthy but at the same time I just wish he'd settle down for a mintue and let me breathe! I've not been sleeping well and taking my vitamen and eating a good hearty breakfast hasn't seemed to make a huge difference.

Maybe its all the stress in my life right now. I don't really know. I've been pretty grumpy with Brent lately, I've been short-tempered especially with other adults... the kids aren't bothering me so much right now. Alina has been super adorable opening each little present and counting down till Christmas, and Raziel has been getting really big lately... Last night I watched Toy Story with them and let them stay up until 9:15 (bedtime is 8:30) and we all sat in the floor in Alina's room and watched it together. Alina was in one side of my lap and Raziel was on the other side... it was super sweet -- he would stand up, walk over and pick up his juice or his blanket or something and then come sit back down where he was. It just made me realize that he's a little person just like Alina is and he's not really a baby anymore. That makes me kinda sad, he's getting so big so fast... but on the other hand, Judah will be here in 12 weeks or less and I need Raziel to be walking and such... I can't carry around everyone.

Today I don't want to handle anything. I am tired, I am grumpy, I am frusterated with my co-worker. I am sick of being pregnant but not ready for this baby. I am ready to get paid, I am ready to have a few days off for Christmas. I am ready to go to Florida on New Years. I am ready to hang out with my husband and not have to worry about work or the kids or how freaking cold my house is all the time. I am tired of trying to call this stupid doctor's office labwork place and submit my additional insurance info so that they don't think they need to charge me. I am sick of the morgatge company calling me when I've already arranged when I am making the payment. I'm ready to have money again. I'm ready to be comfortable again. I'm ready to wear my blue jeans again. I'm not ready to have a baby though. I'm not ready to take my 60% pay cut. I'm not ready for anything. I am so freaking worn out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Blame where it's due

So my manager did me a huge coutesy on Friday. And it ticked me off so badly today when I found out about it that I really just want to scream at him. You know that 60 year old incompetent guy that's technically the manager of my store but doesn't do anything but screw things up and he's really the guy in charge but he never acts that way?

Well. His wife was in here on Friday because he's in the middle of having cadaract surgery in both eyes, and so he can't see very well. And I don't know why she was here - she's old and he's old and I just don't get it but she comes and helps him work from time to time because he just can't see well. She's nice enough I guess but to me it's a huge problem that our company has just never addressed... before I started working here she actually came and "worked" with him every day, although she wasn't on payroll or anything. And, the owner (our mutual boss) just ignored it... so she pretty much is allowed in here and on our systems and stuff because they never said she shouldn't. But. Here's the problem; she messes stuff up.

Friday afternoon I went over to Target and dropped off some flyers for employees of Target (and a few surrounding businesses) letting them know about our location and that they were eligible for a discount on our monthly rates. I did this and took my lunch simultaneously because I wanted to finish up shopping on my 30 minute lunch - so I went out on business but took my lunch too. I was gone for about 1 hour. In this time, I guess it got busy or something and Linda (my manager's wife) decided to help out and take a payment. She took the payment on my computer, logged in under my name (because I didn't log out when I went to lunch). Well, she did it wrong. Basically, she applied the money to the guy's account one time but rang it out in our drawer twice. Causing our drawer to be $186.37 short when we balanced out at the end of the night.

I'm notorious for not ringing out things in our drawer when it comes to payments - it's very easy to fix. You get a printoff when you apply it to their account, and as long as you process it through our cash drawer before the end of the night, you'd never know, it really makes no difference. SO. Bob assumed it was me and started jumping all over my case about the imbalance. (usually he's just counted the money wrong and assumes I shorted the drawer somehow, it's very frusterating.) I'll be the first to admit that I make mistakes. But, I don't process them twice - I just forget to run them (which is no big deal and VERY easy to fix). Well. I counted the drawer and agreed that we were short - but it was a strange number (namely $186.37) so I knew it had to be a payment. It wasn't like we gave someone wrong change or something... so I start looking through the reciepts and find a ticket for $186.37 rung in my name, rung out twice. I didn't help the lady. I asked Bob (manager) if he'd done it in my name and he knew instantly that it had been Linda (his wife). I was furious -- billing mistakes will be taken out of your paycheck. I asked him 4 or 5 times at least to please note in the comments that it WAS NOT my mistake and that it had been Linda logged in on my name. He said he'd do it.

Well today, I get an email about it basically just noting that there was the variance and how it'd be resolved (no paycheck deductions involved) and it just seemed to me that Bob hadn't said anything... so I looked at the comments on the cashout and noticed that he said nothing about where the fault laid... so I sent a note to our home office just to verify that he'd told them. He hadn't. I was being blamed fully for the $186 mistake and he hadn't mentioned anything about it whatsoever to anyone.

THIS PISSES ME OFF. Not only would I potentially be looking at $186 out of my next paycheck if they'd decided that it actually cost the company, but also it made me look like an incompetant moron to my boss and the home office. It made me look like I didn't pay attention, that I didn't care, and that (even though they'd just sent out emails about being careful with payments) I obviously just didn't give a d***m. Potentially, if I hadn't brought it up, I could loose $186 or even my job if they decided they didn't want to waste their time on someone that wasn't paying attention.

I'll be the first to take blam where it's due. But don't let me get hit by the bus you just threw me under when I wasn't even there to make the mistake or tell Linda she could use my codes.

In other news: the Amazon box turned up today. My husband says that some guy in a white van pulled up in the driveway today and left it on the front porch. Brent went out to try and see who he was but he got in his car, hollered "merry christmas" slammed the door and sped off. The box has been opened and re-taped... Brent says it's all there, one of the things had been opened but everything was still in the package. We guess that maybe some kid stole it off our front porch one day and his dad was bringing it back? Brent tracked the package last night and it had come from Atlanta and gone to North Dakota on it's way here (north georgia) but apparently it came a day or two ago (we don't know when!) and some kid swipped it or something. Brent says the man seemed aggitated to have to be involved, but he was nice to Brent... he just seemed pissed off about the situation.

Apparently the christmas presents my hubby ordered and the Baby Alive Get Better Doll weren't of interest to the thief... or maybe they were and they got caught by their parents and made to return the stuff... I don't really know. I'm glad they came though because it's about $75 worth of stuff in that box and I'd hate to have to process a claim over that through the post office!!

The only thing I forgot to do this weekend was take a photo of the kids for family Christmas cards. I've GOT to do that tonight and get things on their way tomorrow... OK, so people won't be getting their cards before Christmas probably but oh well. The non-family ones have been sent pictureless and I think that's a good start.

Alina's 3rd Birthday

I woke her up in the morning singing Happy Birthday to her. She was thrilled beyond belief and kept asking "it's my birthday?" and when could she open her presents lol. She and I made her birthday cake first thing - she'd picked it out at the store a few days back. Strawberry cake with funfetti vanilla icing.

She mixed it and I cooked and iced it and she decorated it herself :-) Then we made sugar cookies and iced them, and decorated them with crushed peppermint. And, we made Christmas ornaments.

She had a great day, pretty much being allowed to have whatever she wanted in the way of sweets and TV and such. I felt the need to spoil her just a bit - I'm usually so strict about how much sugar and TV she gets in the day and I just wanted her to feel like her birthday was special. Daddy got home around 4 and she was so excited. She showed him her cake and talked about how she was going to close her eyes and wish and blow out the candles.
She didn't want her picture taken.

Around 7pm everyone came over for our little mini-party. Brent's parents and sisters and our friend Jennifer came over with LOTS of presents for Alina! She was so excited that I thought she would just explode with energy. Every time someone came in she'd say "you got me a present?!" and jumped up and down.

Maybe it was all the sugar!!

After everyone was there and we had our drinks and all the food set out and all, Alina got to open her birthday presents.

She got an Elefun from Nene and Jessie and Ca-Ba. She'd never played this game before, and she loves it.

It wears me out, though, putting all those butterflies back into the elephant and doing it again and again and again.

I love this picture with her little princess crown from Nene and matching computer from Mommy and Daddy - she LOVES this VTECH thing and plays on it CONSTANTLY! It was a great choice!

NOTE: See this adorable outfit? Its so sweet! Baba sent it!! Thanks Baba!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finishing Up

Well, I'm very proud of myself. Today (on lunch) I am finishing Christmas shopping. I need to purchase 3 more gifts, and finish the creation of 2 (which will be done tomorrow) and then I'm done. I've gotten the addresses for the folks I'm sending cards to, I've got a box to ship my family their presents in (which I'm sending next day on Monday to ensure they get it by Christmas) and I've even got all the ingrediants I need to make cookies and Christmas ornaments! I washed a bunch of dishes last night, I'm going grocery shopping this evening, I've paid the bills and basically have my ducks in a row!

I love being so ready for Christmas. The only thing I have left after this is actually a massive project... that will probably take several hours... Brent's Christmas present... so I need child care but can't do it while he's home which leaves my hands tied. I'm gonna have to get it done during nap time over the next few days off, and pray to God the kids sleep for a while!

My husband is so funny. He called me yesterday and said "sweetie? We got a christmas card from a very nice looking family. Who are they?" I laughed long and hard. My dear sweet friend Helen Joy sent us their Christmas card and it hadn't occured to me that Brent has never seen HJ or her family and wouldn't know them by name or sight like I do. (I've never met her husband Noah or baby Barclay but I read about them almost daily on her blog) It was so strange to me that there are people that Brent doesn't know that I do -- for some reason, it was so odd! I mean, I know there was life before the last 7 years of my life but I never really think about the fact that I know alot of people that he hasn't ever met!

Alina's laptop arrived safely a few days ago, and we are anxiously awaiting her baby doll and Brent is holding his breath as the last of my Christmas presents come in as we count down - 7 days till Christmas!!

Anyways, I am currently starving and need to run to Target and grab some presents and my lunch so I'm going to go now, sorry the post is so short but look forward to Monday when I have Alina's birthday party pictures to share!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Boys will be Boys

Or Men will be men rather. I want to write this post because I am abundantly proud of my husband. I am proud of him today because he is a bigger man than anyone I know and he takes care of his own and protects the innocent and the helpless.

Today, my husband punched a fellow employee at work. (I'm not proud of him for punching him I'm proud of him for the rest of the story - before and after)

If you don't know this, Brent's sister Rebecca was born with spinebifida. She has always had health problems and probably always will. A year ago she had total kidney failure and spent a month in ICU and another month or two in the hospital and is always in and out. We are blessed to still have Rebecca.

Brent has spent his entire life protecting her. Even as an 8 year old, Brent would stick up for her, defend her, and tell other kids to leave her alone. I think I remember hearing stories of him beating up other kids (when he very young) because they said his sister looked funny or asked rude questions. This is his way of life. Their father hadn't been doing the job (Mr. Haley is much more participant in Becca and Jessie's (the youngest) lives now, just not before) and Brent was pretty much man of the house after his brother Clint moved out. In addition to this, Brent has always been caring and protective of all his family, but especially of Rebecca.

A few days ago Rebecca came by Brent's place of work to say hello. Apparently, today, Brent's co-worker was making jokes - alot of rude, inappropriate jokes. I don't know what they were pertaining to but I do know it had something to do with her disability. Brent repeatedly told this co-worker to stop, and that these jokes weren't funny or acceptable. If you know my hubby, you know he has an impossibly long fuse and isn't short tempered by any means. He's not a violent person or quick-to-anger. Apparently this guy just wouldn't leave it alone, after Brent repeatedly told him to stop. Eventually my loving protective husband snapped and pinned the guy against the wall telling him to quit and he was serious... and the co-worker didn't have enough sense to keep that one last comment to himself and Brent punched him right in the face.... bloodly lip and everything.

Well, I tell this story because my hubby needs the encouragement, but mostly I want to tell everyone because I am proud to have married a man that works so hard to protect his family and sisters and kids. I am proud that my husband sticks up for people that are sick or can't neccessarily defend themselves. I am proud that my husband put up with the bull-**** banter for an hour and a half before he hit the guy. I am proud that when the co-worker called him on his lunch to make ammends (not to apologize, just to tell Brent he wasn't going to press charges and that he was "egging him on so... you know") that Brent was a big enough man not to argue about who would have won the fist-fight or tell the co-worker that he won't hit him again if he doesn't give him a reason to. I am so proud of my husband for being humble and meek and considerate of the best for his family and not the best for his ego.

I am proud of my hubby today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday Shopping

I had a nice day off -- too short really. We got up in the morning and went to church. I have just recieved a box of clothes from Baba (my mother) for the kids and the clothes are GREAT. I am especially thrilled about the 3 pairs of pants she bought for Alina (2 jeans and 1 khakis) with the adjustable waists. I feel SOO much better about the kids and how they look now -- they have clothing that fits (Raziel is finally into the 18months pretty well... we have to cuff the pants some). I love dressing Alina and Raziel in little jeans and shirts because they look like real people that I took a minute on, and it looks less like we just rolled out of bed and came in our jammies.

After church, we headed over to Walmart and picked up what was supposed to be a few odds and ends and ended up being $55 worth. Really, it was things I'd needed to buy... a few presents for Raziel, a few items for Brent's homemade present (more expensive than I'd realized lol!), Alina's birthday cake stuff, and a few clearanced items that we decided would make good presents for relatives/friends. We then grabbed some checkers (chicken nuggets and water! woohoo!) and went to the dollar tree where I spent another $20 on Alina's last Christmas present (yes, I'm done for her!) and party items along with a few things for relatives/friends. I also got socks for Alina!!! 9 pairs for $3 and they're all REALLY cute and I was so glad to find an abundance of socks somewhere that was really cheap. Well, so I spent alot more than I'd intended to but the upside is that I'm almost done with Christmas purchasing and I LIKE being done with Christmas purchasing ahead of time.

And, the nice thing is, we are getting paid weekly right now... I'm paid on the 15th and last of every month and Brent's every other week so it changes -- sometimes we get paid together and sometimes its staggered and right now we're paid every week and that makes life and money so much easier. I've been really proud of our ability to provide a nice Christmas and still pay the bills.

Last night I went over to Tamra's after work and went on a scavenger hunt for old toys to give to Raziel for Christmas. She had set aside ALOT of toys that were age appropriate but the problem was her kids figured out that those toys were going away and they dissapeered into the woods or their rooms or wherever we couldn't find them. I did bring home one of these

and Tamra's bringing over one of these (in her truck) this week

While these may be more appropriate toys for Alina, they are Raziel's big presents for the year. We figured he will be delighted to climb up the side of them and fall off and scare the daylights out of mommy on a regular basis. And, Alina will be glad to share. Currently, Brent thinks he'll be able to find a box big enough to wrap the slide (not the playhouse) and put it under the tree. HAH! I know we'll just end up putting it out by the tree on Christmas morning. It'll be fun because Alina and Raziel will both see it first thing when they come out in the morning.

I'm very excited, but now I do need to find one more toy for Raziel before I'm done on his Christmas. I love trying to find everything - it's wonderful.

And! I recieved one of Brent's presents in the mail yesterday and it's PERFECT! I was worried it wouldn't work properly but it works exactly right. He guessed that its car seat covers because I had to go check his suzuki. I hate it when he guesses good -- but I'm not saying that's what it is because IT MAY NOT BE!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!

Anyway. I'm a dork. Thanks. ttyl. I have shopping to finish and lunch to eat.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Thrifty Finds!

So I got to go to the McKay's Bookstore last night after work and I was there for about an hour and a half but gosh I coulda stayed FOREVER and spent ALOT more money!!

Imagine your local superwalmart. Now, cut off the registers section and all that random stuff at the front (money center, vison center, customer service, whatever) and then also don't imagine anything in the stock room that you don't usually see. Got the idea? Now empty Walmart out and fill it with rows and rows and rows and stacks and stacks and stacks of BEAUTIFUL discounted books! Then, add a big section on the side for DVD's, video games, and gaming systems... and then add a 2nd story, but cut out the center of that floor (so its just a second story around the edges really) and fill that with used CD's. The biggest place ever!!

I was so enthralled.. they had the largest variety I'd ever seen! They had everything from automotive books to novels to collectors books to manga to kids books to anything else in the possible world you could imagine. I went with a specific list of things I wanted and only couldn't find 2 things - but it was okay because I found better things!! The best part is how good the condition of the books and dvd's and things is and how CHEAP everything is!! Here's an examples (something I didn't buy for Brent lol)

Barnes & Noble: $19.95
Amazon.com: $14.95 + shipping
McKays: $7.50

Here's one that REALLY impressed me
Barnes & Noble: $40.00
Amazon.com: $23.40 + Shipping
McKays: $15.00

WOW!! Right? and here's the thing -- these are highly sought after items!! They aren't even Bargain Books!!!

SO Here's what I got:

Brent's gifts will be non-detail obviously.... item number 1 priced normally $18.99, I paid $5. Item number 2 priced normally $19.95, I paid $10. Item number 3 priced normally at $24.95, I paid $7.50. Item number 4 normally priced at $14.95... yeah I paid $1.95!! Total savings of approximately $55. WOW. And here's the thing about this -- I didn't compromise on the things I wanted! Every single thing I bought I was looking for specifically and if I hadn't found it there I was ordering it online! I'd already priced them all online! WOOHOO!! And they don't look used either. If I took off the stickers and didn't tell him that's where I bought it, he'd NEVER know. AWESOME

For Alina we bought 5 of Dora's little life lesson books... I don't remember which titles, I just saw they were Dora and in the bargain section! They're smaller sized books, and paperback... imagine the classic board book size.... like 5 inches by 5 inces or so... and paperback. I can't really find these online but most kids books go for abour $4 a piece on the internet, so we'll say that they'd be that much. The set would then be $20 and I paid $3.50. WOOHOO

Also got her this... but the volume she hasn't seen yet -- I think it's season 2 maybe? I priced it online before for around $15, Brent saw it on sale at Walmart for $10, and I bought it for $7.50!

Man. So I was aware that I'd raked up about $40 worth of purchases and I needed to head home before I went totally broke buying good presents that I didn't need to buy any more of (LOL). I was standing in the checkout line when I saw this from where I was standing: PLAYSTATION 2's!! Ebay price: about $80 right now... EB Games still sells them for $120.... McKays?? $60. Yup. $60. Totally wish I'd known that before I bought almost all of Brent's Christmas presents. MAN! But it's okay, good to know in future!

I have a new favorite place. HAHAHAHAHAHAH!

Way so excited.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A $30 Box

So I ordered Alina's birthday present from Amazon.com. I'm super excited about it - I got it with free shipping and it'll be here on the 18th (just in the nick of time!) so I'm glad it worked out so much!

BUT! Let me tell you something I learned about Amazon's little thingy called "Frusteration Free Packaging."

So, according to Amazon, "Frustration-Free Certified Packages are easy-to-open and come without hard plastic clamshell casings, plastic bindings, and wire ties. Frustration-Free Packaging will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging, and what's inside is exactly the same. Products with Frustration-Free Packaging can frequently be shipped in their own boxes, without the need for an additional shipping box."

While it sounds nice and eco-friendly... here was my question:
Why does the Frusteration-Free Packaging cost $16.99 when the Retailer Packaging costs $44.99?
WHAT?!!?!? That's right. A whopping $28 difference to opt for the recyclable box!!

So what's the deal? They don't save $28 by eliminating the box... here's my only guess (which nothing on Amazon supports this guess but it's the only explination I can come up with); Alot of boxes are damaged in shipping and in transit. My thought is that these "frusteration free" packages were actually sent in their regular retail boxes but got rained on or smashed or something. So, Amazon does a little test to make sure the product still works, throws out all the extra crap and puts it in a simple box and discounts it and creates a name for it, because no one will buy the smashed boxes anyway.

I simply could not believe that I saved $28 because I took the recycled box. Man, it sure makes Amazon look all eco-friendly and green but my guess is that the fact is they just are selling things they would have to discount because the box got ruined. I remember working at Journeys (Shoes) and having customers - especially at Christmas - get upset if the box was squished or something. There wasn't a scratch on the shoes, they weren't bent or anything, but the customer would want a non-smushed box. They even would buy the wrong size sometimes so that the box looked nicer.

Well, that's my outrageous tale for the day. Tonight I am going to McKay's Used Books for the first time ever. My mother in law goes all the time, and a girl I work with who is in school for teaching swears by this place. Its much like an EB games or clothing thrift store where people trade in their old "gently used" stuff and use store credit to buy new stuff, or you can just buy if you want. It's all used so its discounted alot. I am excited because I want to look for a few books for Brent that I'd been looking at online (for $8 or $10 each which is cheaper than like Barnes&Noble but used is just as good really). It also occured to me that I could buy several books for Alina and give them to her as Christmas presents... and kids books are like 25 to 50 cents each soooo that's a great price for a Christmas present! I'll have to share some of my finds with you all tomorrow!

On the list to look for Alina includes Max & Ruby books (previous post about these) as well as Sesame Street, Dora, and Disney Princess books... maybe some classic kids books... I'll have to see what I find! They also sell DVD's and CD's and Audio books and video games so I'll HAVE to look around and see what they've got and what kinds of prices they have. I'm WAY TOO EXCITED about this!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do you ever think about?

A few nights ago I got in a long conversation about exes with Brent. I don't really know how we got on the subject but the idea of the conversation was generally "what was I thinking?" and "I'm so glad I married you!"

It amazes me when I look back on some of the guys I considered. Some weren't that strong in their faith. Some weren't that attractive (hah!). Some weren't interested in having kids. Some weren't attentive. Some weren't leaders. Some were quiet(LOL). I wonder why I even considered some of the guys that I spent significant time with because I thought he "might be the one"

Today, in retrospect, I am thinking about those past friendships... thinking about the boys that wrote me letters from boot camp or coast guard ships. Wondering what my life would have been like - and then shuddering at the thought. What would me life be without Brent and Alina and Raziel? I can't imagine I'd be any kind of happy. What would life have been like if I'd gone to college for 4 years? Gosh, I'd just be graduating.... no kids for sure.

Because of thinking bout this, I wanted to tell you about how Brent and I met and how amazing it is. We were talking about it last night and surely, I've decided, God loves fairy tales and just wanted to make one out of my life for the pure enjoyment of it.

Brent and I were both online kids when we were in our early teens. We both hung out in Christian chat rooms and talked in AIM to complete strangers. (It was before Facebook got big, remember back then?) We used to chat with people about life, God, and stuff in general. It was in this Christian chat room that we met and chatted some. Brent was told by God very early on that I was the woman that he would marry. Well, being that he was like 13 at the time, Brent freaked out and blocked my AIM and didn't talk to me. He figured he must be going crazy and had made things up in his mind. He changed chat rooms and times he was there to avoid me.

A year or so passes and he comes back to the chat room where we met. He runs into me in this chat room several more times, all the while remember vaugely that "this is the woman you'll marry." He unblocks me on AIM for a time and then freaked himself out because he started to think that maybe it was me (or something like that... I'm not sure why he re-blocked me, I hardly remember this part) When we were 15, we hadn't talked for quite a long time and we'd all but forgotten the existence of eachother. Brent's family was going through a tough time (his parents got divorced a few years later) and Brent confided in this guy he had gotten to know online. This guy suggested that Brent just needed to take a week or so and get out of his house. He offered to have Brent come and visit his family, and mentioned that Brent should get to know his little sister who was about Brent's age and was turning 16 the week he'd be coming to visit. When this guy gave Brent the AIM screen name, it was blocked.

That guy was my brother, David. I was the sister. Brent (at this point having purposefully tried to loose me in the sea of the internet twice or more times and being unsucessful) unblocked my screen name and decided to get to know me. This was around December. By March, when spring break came around and Brent's plan to come visit was still in effect, Brent and I had become very very very close and knew that there was something more there. I didn't know that God had told him years before then that I was going to be his wife, but Brent always remembered.

Today, 7 years later, we are still together and very happy and looking back on it is like reading a fairy tale. We dated for about 3 years and got married on the 3 year anniversary of the day that we met in person. We will be celebrating our 4th year of marriage in March when Judah comes. It amazes me that the decisions that we made were so orchestrated that they brought us to where we are today.

Anyways, I just wanted to talk about it some because it brought to my attention how good of a husband I have... and how much God must love me to have to work that hard to bring him to me.

A few things about pregnancy...

So, I've decided to share a few things I don't like about pregnancy. And, a few things I do like just to be fair.

1) I don't like that middle of the pregnancy section (or really most of mine because I'm rather slender) where people are afraid to ask if you're pregnant or not. Really, if you knew me, you'd know that without a doubt I'm pregnant. But people (customers, strangers at the store, etc) don't know what I normally look like so they aren't sure if I'm fat or pregnant. I hate this.

2) I don't like having to pee first thing in the morning and sometimes during the night too. It's cold outside of my bed. I don't like getting up out of bed. I am always too awake to go right back to sleep, which I hate because I love sleeping.

3)I don't like that I have active babies. Ok, so, it's nice and re-assuring to feel them move from time to time, and it's very happy after I haven't been feeling well or something but gosh if Judah would just give me a break for like an hour I'm sure my breathing would improve.

4) I hate being so forgetful. They say that blood is taken off your brain and focused on the uterus to help support the baby and that makes you forget things more. I don't know if that's just a wives' tale to make excuses for the fact that you have like 18 things to do at any given time, or if its scientific, but I'll claim it.

5) I hate being so tired. I know, the reason I'm tired is because a) I haven't taken my vitamen this morning yet and b) I need to eat more breakfast than a granola bar and c) I stayed up late talking to Brent last night and d) I'm growing a person for goodness sake! it takes some work! but I'm just worn out -- alot. I have less patience and I got so aggrivated with Alina the other day that I yelled at her and I just HATE yelling at her. And the worst part is that I know I was only yelling because she was irritating me and she was only doing that becuase she was hungry and I couldn't cook fast enough. I guess that brings me to #6

6) I hate being stressed and taking it out on the kids. It's not their fault that I didn't sleep well. It's not their fault that I'm hungry. It's not their fault that they're hungry. It's not their fault that I'm trying to handle too many things at once. I shouldn't yell at them or anything.

OK so I really do love being pregnant alot of times. I love bonding with the little person growing in me. I love how close that baby will be to me and how he will trust me before he ever sees my face. I love feeling him move around (sometimes) and I love hearing his heartbeat and seeing his little face or arms or hands or whatever. I love that every ultrasound I've had on every baby has included baby holding a fist up against his/her face. I love that my kids are so different and yet so similar. I love that they come from me, and I love being so proud of that when I'm done with these 9 months. I love being pregnant because I know Alina and Raziel will be fantastic big siblings, and that Alina can't wait to call the baby Dante regardless of how much I say his name is Judah. so it's not all bad, but I am a bit worn out today and thought I'd share about it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Busy Weekend

After the snow on Saturday, it started warming up so we went to the city's holiday parade with our friends Tamra and Brian (and their kids). The parade didn't start til 6pm (we were told to be there around 4:30 even though we were just watching!) so it was frusterating just sitting around waiting, but awesome once it started. Raziel was out by 6:45 so I laid him in his stroller and let him take a 30 minute nap. Alina got to hang out with Jason, another dad from church, who happens to be very tall (so she could see.) She had a blast - she was waving and saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone, grabbing the candy they threw, she even got to see the horses which she was VERY excited about. It was her first parade and I was so glad she had such a fun time. Jason mentioned to me later that he hadn't had a little one like that at a parade for a very long time and it was really enjoyable for him to experience it with her because it reminded him that it was magical and fun and new and different - not cold and boring. I was so glad that he'd enjoyed holding her so much because she wouldn't come back to me once she got up there with Jason!!

That night we had dinner with Tamra and Brian and ended up staying over until midnight -- not the plan origonally, but the guys worked on their Blazer (SUV) and we made dinner and it just turned into a late-night sort of a thing. Tamra called me the next day and asked what our normal bed-time was because she realized I was grumpy after about 11pm (haha! I was EXHAUSTED and hadn't eaten since 1pm!!!) It was so funny, but I explained how bedtime is normally 8:30 for the kids and I'm rarely up later than 10 so it was a blast to be over there but we agreed to have earlier dinners in future. I'm going to make sure to invite them for dinner sometime in the next week or two so that she doesn't think we didn't enjoy our time there. It's strange to me that I used to stay up until 2am all the time and that was the norm - and now I can't stay up til 1am once without being so tired that my hostess noticed I was grumpy!! Being a mom changes things so much.... but I'm okay with that I think.

Sunday we got to go grocery shopping with our new WIC package and I am so thrilled! WIC never made since to me because the concept was to facilitate families like ours in getting a balanced diet -- but all they gave us was too many eggs, and waaay too much cereal with some milk, cheese, juice, peanut butter and beans mixed in. The new way, we get grains (our choice of bread, tortillas or rice), produce (frozen, canned or fresh), milk (less), eggs (much less!), cheese (also less), juice, and cereal (more, sadly! lol!)

The fact that we choose what breads we want is awesome. We actually get really good stuff to choose from too... it's all whole wheat which is even better because that's the expensive stuff that I can never afford. They also give a dollar amount for fruit and veggies - and I choose from fresh, frozen or canned, and can pick any combination. Sunday, I bought 3 apples, 1 orange, 1 big bag of baby carrots, a can of corn and a can of green beans.... and I get to do that 2 more times this month! I'm really excited because I used to pay so much money for produce and grains every month, and still didn't buy the nice stuff... now that it's all paid for, I can buy really nice veggies and really nice healthy bread and grain and I don't have to pay for it. I'll gladly trade all that for buying a gallon of milk here or there and supplementing my cheese. We also had one tiny little alteration on our peanut butter that is a huge difference! Now, we can buy a 16-18oz jar instead of just a 16oz jar. All the natural peanut butters are 18 oz - so we can get the good stuff now! I'm so excited!

Monday I went to the OB and they said everything looks great and normal, so that's fantastic. They're keeping to my duedate for now (sigh). It would have to be the week of my anniversary and birthday. Poor kid (LOL). I ran a few errands and came back home right when Brent was putting the kids down for their nap. We wrapped the christmas presents we had for the kids, and put them under the tree. When Alina got up from her nap she was SOOOO excited. She has guesses about every single thing that was wrapped (all wrong, of course). It was adorable, I was so excited that she's enjoying this already so much. We're going to buy a bunch of little presents at the dollar tree and let her open one every day till Christmas so that she can count down the days in a tangible way. Brent did this one year as a kid and never forgot it.

I'm making the kids their ornaments this year. Becca has some glass ornament kits that she won't be using and she volunteered to give them to me. I am so excited about this because I'm getting REALLY good at painting cartoon type charaters and I plan to make a tinkerbell one for Alina and a Tigger one for Raziel.

Last night, we lit a fire in the fireplace. (it's cold here and my central heat and air doesn't work.) We run space heaters in the kids rooms at night and one in our room too because its just waay too cold not to. Since we've started that Alina has slept perfectly (with her new yellow pacie). Anyways, Alina was very excited about the fireplace and called her daddy to come and watch the fire with her while I made dinner. Brent thought this was so sweet he came and sat with her for 30 minutes before he put her in bed. It was adorable, watching them all snuggled up in front of the fire.

That's all I have worth mentioning for the weekend.

Saturday Snow Day

Saturday was SUPER cold at our house and we got quite a bit of snow!! Alina and Raziel were sooo excited that we got up before 8am, bundled up and played in the snow. I took a bunch of pictures to show you the fun we had.

Alina's all bundled up and ready to go play - sporting the adorable princess hat she got from Baba last year along with her knitted fleece-lined mittens from Nana & Poppa Huggins, also last year.

We got ALOT of snow for us.

I had to share this photo of the top half of my backyard... this belongs on a Christmas card!

Raziel was very unsure as to what was up with the bundling and the cold and his inability to walk around really. He looked at it for quite a while.

Then he sat down and looked at it some more.

Alina showed him that snow was fun, and she was excited about it. He kicked his feet some but still didn't move.

Alina knew just what to do. She picked up the snow in her hands and showed it to him.

And, in good ol Raziel fashion
it went promptly into his mouth. LOL!

Alina only wanted to do one thing (after she'd thrown a few snowballs at me) and that was build a snowman. She was so excited and knew exactly what to do. She told me we needed sticks for arms and we needed eyes and a nose and a mouth and buttons. So, we used the wretched Jolly Rancher candy that choked her a few weeks ago for the eyes, a peppermint stick for his nose and black beans for his mouth and buttons. Alina was VERY proud that she made the head herself.

We played for about 2 hours before they got grumpy. I was so glad we got up and played in it because it melted by that afternoon when Brent got home. I hope it snows again sometime when he's home to play too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday... pretty dull

Today has been pretty dull and typical... I slept really well last night and woke up refreshed this morning which was nice. Brent took kid-duty and let me paint for a few hours yesterday evening and I started on a portrait of Boots (Dora the Explorer's friend) for Alina's birthday/Christmas. After that I soaked in the tub for about an hour and crawled into a warm bed. It was lovely. This morning I felt rested and revived. I got to work 10 minutes early. I did all my work dilligently and worked hard. I was rather irritated because my co-worker went out to distribute flyers and his 2 hour trip turned into 5 hours because his car broke down (brakes quit) and his mother needed to go to the doctor... but that's life sometimes. It left me pretty busy this afternoon but I'm not even to where I'm upset about it really. I budgeted some and made sure we had all the right bills paid, and how much we'd have for Christmas spending when we get paid next, etc.... it's been a typical day. I can't wait to go home to the kids and hang out with them and Brent. He drove all the way home (30 mins each way) on his one hour lunch today just to call me on his phone, which he'd forgotten this morning. He said I'd sounded sad that he'd forgotten his phone in the morning and he wanted to talk to me, even for just a few minutes. I was very happy. It's funny to me how tiny little things can make me feel so wonderful sometimes, but it's just the fact that he pays that much attention to me and I love it. Well, I just realised I should've paid the sitter today and I forgot to so let me go call her... sorry it's not an intersting post! I just felt like I should post something!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Post 101 - childhood memories

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor.... would you be mine? Could you be mine? won't you be my neighbor! Hi neighbor!

I went on a little trip down memory lane the other day. Alina and I were grocery shopping and she spotted a DVD of Max & Ruby. I was previously in the dark as to who Max & Ruby were, and honestly I assumed it was a mexican tv show because there are so many of them lately... Dora being so popular and all. I didn't know for sure because its a show that's on Nick Jr and so she watches it at day care. Well, I was astonished to see two lovable little cartoon bunnies hanging out making a cake or something on the front of the DVD she was showing me. Who are they?

These lovely lovable little rabbits are something I cherish from my childhood! I remember going to the library all the time - we would walk there because it was so close to our house. Max and Ruby were cardboard books mostly, and I remember getting these to read to Alisha and Timothy. I was siked out that they actually made this into a TV show, and that it's one of my daughter's favorites.

Here's a few of the titles I remember most:

Goodnight Max
Max's Bunny Business
Max's New Suit
Bunny Party

This series is by Rosemary Wells and I'm totally buying some for Alina for Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Setting up the Christmas Tree

I took a bunch of pictures from the other day when we set up the Christmas tree and wanted to share them, because I think there are some really adorable ones! We printed a few of these and sent them in Christmas cards to the great-grands and I am really excited how they turned out.

Alina and Daddy putting together the tree

Raziel helping Daddy with the tree

Alina was allowed to help with the ornaments

Raziel was allowed to look at them

Alina wanted to pose by the snowmen to show you they changed colors - she didn't understand you'd only see one color.

Raziel and Daddy hanging ornaments

Alina and Daddy hanging ornaments

Alina posing by the tree (this was a christmas card photo)

Alina and Daddy putting on the star

Christmas card photo

Christmas Card Photo

Raziel and Daddy hanging out

If Raziel had been looking this woulda been a great Christmas card photo but I couldn't get him to stay still!!

Well, that's our Christmas Tree photos! Hope you enjoyed!