Archive for the 'marriage' Category

Dec 30 2010

Early morning bed party snuggles

This morning I created a monster.

Well, 2 monsters, really.

Every morning (unless we’re on the ball and up and rarin’ to go — yeah, not usually happening!) when I hear a kid stirring, I give our family whistle, and wait to see if a little blur comes running into our room. After a few whistles, we usually have 2 little hot water bottles climb into bed with us for a little morning snuggle.
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Jul 02 2009

Medicating Legally.

Published by under amy's head,daily,house,marriage,photos

This is a bitch session, so let’s just go at it, shall we? Basically, we are bleeding money around the Sanders-Pancoast household. Gushing. Dare I say soon to be HEMMORAGHING.

  1. Foot. My joint in my toe, which I mentioned once before, is inflamed with arthritis. It has gone back and forth between improving and getting worse for the last month, so the doctor suggested we get an orthotic to go in my shoe, that would relieve any pressure on that joint and allow it to heal.

    My insurance doesn’t cover this orthotic. It is not cheap.

    Damn insurance.

  2. Next up! The AC on our main level stopped with the making of nice and chilly. One hour visit later, and there goes two car payments.
  3. Next up! Last week, James’ 2006 Subaru Impreza STI died on his way to 5 Guys. A tow to our auto shop and TWO DAYS OF THEM LOOKING AT IT confirmed our worst fears that it was the engine, which would probably have to be rebuilt.

    So, obviously, it’s still under warranty, it only has 55k miles on it and is only 3 years old. Subaru to the rescue, right?

    So then we had it towed to Subaru, who are now saying scary things like, “we must have all maintenance records/this air filter looks like it has never been changed” in order to determine if they will cover it under warranty.

    First of all, we bought it used, so we don’t even have all the records, and second of all, James has done some oil changes himself. They could feasible put up a major stink.

    If they do not cover it under warrantee, an engine rebuild could run around 3 mortgage payments. Oh, and if the turbo is shot as well, that’s another month’s worth of daycare right there.

    Also? That first tow? To our shop? Turns out, we only had roadside assistance for MY car, but not for HIS car. So that was some $$$ right there. (I immediately remedied that situation, so the next tow was partially covered and much less painful.)

  4. Oh and lucky us, we have birds nesting in our roofline, in two different places. I fear some of them have gotten into the attic. This has actually been going on for a while, but I’m just now getting around to getting someone to take care of it. Which I’m sure is going to cost some bucks. Urgh.
  5. And finally? We’re going on vacation to Oregon in 2 weeks. Many things are already paid for (like the airplane tickets, for example) but many other things are not. Right before you go on vacation is never a good time to tighten up the purse-strings.

So… Last night, all of this was kind of weighing on James and I. The car stuff especially. If it weren’t for some good friends loaning us the use of their 3rd car, we’d be totally screwed, transportation wise. And if we have to pay for an engine rebuild ourselves? Makes you want to cry.

“Kids,” we called out, “how do you feel about going out and getting a job?”

They weren’t too ecstatic about the idea. We let them know college might not be in the cards after mommy and daddy paid for all this crap.

After moaning a lot and uncurling myself up from the fetal position, I remembered Heather, from dooce.com, when she and Jon had to face the massive bill for replacing their entire sewer line. She concocted, and I quote, the Oh My God Our Plumbing’s Fucked Cookie.

Well, last night, I concocted the Oh My God Our Car (Might Be) Fucked Cocktail.

First, some ice in a very very big glass. Big. Very big. Let’s go skimpy on the ice, shall we?

Then some vodka.

That doesn’t look like enough. MORE VODKA.

OK. That should make my liver stand up and take notice. Now a little kahlua.

And finally, we top it off with milk.

Hmm. It needs something. Something spectacular. I mean, this is a spectacular amount of money we’re hemmoraghing around here.

Ahh, much better. Hot pink BENDY STRAW!!

And there it is. The “We Might Be Fucked” cocktail.

If it turns out, we’re not fucked? I’ll make a “Yay, We’re Not Fucked!” version.

-amy, who just KNOWS her sister is going to read this and cringe every time she sees the f word. Sorry, Ellen.
-amy isn’t even going to THINK about the possibility of her dad reading this. The one who’s worst curse is, “Oh, SCRUD.”

2 responses so far

Mar 10 2009

Complicated Birthday Day!

I have actually been meaning to post on the old blog-er-oo for a while now. I know! Crazy! I have had things to say that take more than the 140 characters allowed by twitter! I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write. Which is a bogus excuse because I’ve had time enough to play Fallout 3 on the PS3!

Today was Jocelyn’s birthday. I hope it was lovely for her, I think it was. It was not as lovely for James and I.

We planned to do her “party” at her school. Meaning, not really have a party at all, but make a bit more of a fuss than just send in cupcakes. We got party hats for all the kids, enough balloons for everyone in her class (36 kids!!) to take one home, and cake of course.

I was on my way from work when I got a call from Ethan’s school’s vice principal. Something had set him off in his classroom and he wasn’t able to settle down, so his teacher asked the VP to take him out of the classroom. She walked around with him for a bit but he still was giving her attitude. At one point he threw his library books, and finally, she had the Principal come get him, and carry him to the office (because he would not go himself).

Ugh. I mean… UGH. Our first objective was to make sure that Jocelyn’s birthday didn’t get ruined. James picked him up right away (he was planning to get him early anyway so we could all do to Jocelyn’s class) and we didn’t make a fuss about it. We basically didn’t do anything about it, except let him know we would talk about it later.

We got to Jocelyn’s class and she was so excited and happy. Birthdays are her absolutely favorite things EVER :) Everyone was very excited to have cake and see the balloons and sing happy birthday. It was very low key, lower than I had anticipated, really. We sang, served cake, popped party hats on everyone, and after the cake was consumed, everyone went out to play outside. Jocelyn and Ethan went out and ran around on the playground a bit, and then we came home to open presents. We got her a new scooter, a little pink bin of legos, a Barbie mermaid, fairy, and (of course!) a strawberry shortcake doll (Rainbow Sherbet!)

After a few scoots around the driveway on the new scooter, we left and went to Jocelyn’s choice of dinner restaurant: Chuck E. Cheese. That place is so much nicer on a weeknight than it is on a weekend. Wow. The kids ran around and had a ball, eating bites of pizza in between video games and crawling around in the kid-sized gerbil tunnels.[1 Seriously. All they need to add is a big wheel and a water drip and the illusion will be complete.] Home, little more playing, and then bed. We still have a pinata that we will probably gather the neighborhood friends together for tomorrow evening. Overall, a big success, and all without the stress of planning a major party – which I love to do, and usually have fun doing, but still, the stress is there. I’ve had enough stress, thank you. I hope we can do something similar for Ethan’s birthday when it comes up, but I’m not sure what.

So, the birthday girl had a lovely day. James and I were pretty much on edge with that sick feeling one gets when their child is having issues. The Ethan update is pretty much, he’s got issues, man. He had a good spell in January, and DOES seem to be less in trouble for *hurting* others, but his behavior still has the same issues. Impulsive, inattentive, aggressive. The plethora of testing done by the school is complete, and tomorrow we meet with everyone at the school to discuss the results. James and I have the reports already and have read them over, and as far as we can tell, it’s really nothing new. Which I guess is good – no mention of any learning disorders or anything — just the same things that we already know. Hyperactive, short attention, impulsive, little self control… We’ll see what they recommend.

On the shrink front, we had an appointment with a psychiatric nurse practitioner but it got canceled for insurance issues. I called back and went ahead and made an appointment with someone different, a psychiatrist who was recommended by another child psychologist from a practice that doesn’t take our insurance. Our appointment with him is next week.

I’m feeling pretty down, but this is an atypical feeling.. just because his day at school today went so badly. I am usually pretty upbeat.. because I have seen a significant improvement in our interactions with him at home. He is playing with his friends pretty well, which was NOT the case at the beginning of the year. I am feeling down because I feel like we’re a step closer to an ADHD prescription which I really am not ready for. And I am definitely not taking the final step until I *really* feel like I’m ready.

I also feel down because I took the most ridiculous fall down the 3 steps down into the garage pre-party. I mean, RIDICULOUS. I don’t even know HOW I fell. I just went ass over end and I hurt ALL OVER. It doesn’t help that I’m having back issues again, which really sucks. So basically… HOST BODY BROKEN. MUST FIND NEW HOST BODY. (god don’t I wish!)

Ahhh well. In other news, I have become a chainmaille weaving addict. I bought a jump ring cutting system and am impatiently awaiting my latest order of silver wire so I can go crazy with the SILVER chainmaille. In the meantime I have oodles of copper wire and even have a few new things up in my etsy shop, so take a look :) I had my very first silver byzantine bracelet up there, but it was purchased by an old friend from High School who saw it when I posted to facebook! How’s that for a go ’round, I love it! I’ll post more about the jewelry soon. I have LOTS to say, especially about how much jewelry photography can suck it, and how sick I am of taking a photo I think will totally ROCK, get it into photoshop, and it looks shitty. SUCK IT, JEWELRY PHOTOGRAPHY! I used to think I could take a decent picture! No! I can’t! I suck! Ahhh well. I will learn.

I hope!

That’s it for now. Wish us luck for our meeting with the school tomorrow!

-amy hears the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, of the tumbler, tumbling her newly cut jumprings to a burnished, awesome shine!

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Oct 29 2008

a post that is all about ME.

In list form!

  • I took a jewelry beading class a few weekends ago, a class I thought would mostly be stringing, but ended up being wire working, and I have to say, I loved it. However, it has brought a few things to light, namely:
    • Cheap pliers are just that. Cheap. The teacher had tools for us to use, which I did, and then when I got home and tried to use the cheapo pliers I had initially purchased, my hands were killing me. Ouch.
    • Silver wire is expensive! She gave us all copper wire to work with, because it’s relatively cheap. Silver is pretty expensive. However, I am not particularly drawn to copper. I don’t hate it, I just don’t usually go for it. And now, after the class, when I look at the copper wire, I have no idea what sort of beads to pair it with. I am paralyzed with inactivity. I have no wish to make copper jewelry. I ache to make something, but I don’t know what. I just am more partial to silver, really.

    So, I’m kind of antsy and anxious to get started with some more jewelry, but a) i need some good pliers and b) I want silver wire. Both of which cost a decent amount of money. But after wobbling about for a week on what to do, I bit the bullet. I bought some very good pliers online, along with a small amount of sterling silver wire, and a bigger amount of (silver-looking-in-appearance)(cheap) nickel wire. I figure I will use the nickel and if I make a piece I really like, I can redo it in the silver. Now I can’t wait for my order to arrive!

  • My upper back is having some sort of reaction to something. At first I thought our cat had scratched me or something, because I just had this very mild irritation on the back of my shoulder, and indeed, could feel a miniscule scratch, but it has progressed to a much larger area than just the invisible scratch area and wtf? No rash or other visual indicator is present, but I’m telling you, not a minute goes by where I don’t feel pain somewhere in this general area. Not a big pain, but a pain-in-the-ass pain, because I keep being made aware of it, over and OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Time for some hydrocortisone cream I guess.
  • Today at the office there is a potluck, and OFFICE MASSAGES. When I wondered over to the front desk to sign up yesterday, I was aghast that there were hardly any people signed up. I was tempted to put myself down twice. Don’t these people like to relax and be massaged? After the last week, I CANNOT WAIT.
  • With the potluck today and a class party in Jocelyn’s classroom on Friday, I made a whole crapload of pumpkin cupcakes. I just LOVE these things. I wish I had the time to decorate them like Melissa from Suburban Bliss did her BOO cupcakes – LOVE THESE – I’m telling you follow the link and just scroll down for the pictures. Creepily DELIGHTFUL. But I did not have the time, so I just dipped them all in halloweeny sprinkles and called it good. And spent the entire trip into the office this morning thinking of some ghoulish names to accompany them. I’ve settled on “Putrid Pumpkin Pustules Slimed With Creepy Creamed Cheese of the Occult” I’ll take any suggestions!
  • This year when I bought out the hat and gloves department at Target for the family, I hit on something. I usually buy several pairs so that when the first glove goes missing (as they all inevitably do) there would be back-up gloves. This year – I bought TWO PAIRS OF THE SAME GLOVES for everyone. Why did I not think of this?? Then when the end of winter comes and tons of gloves are missing, we are much more likely to have MATCHING GLOVES. I can’t tell you how many times Jocelyn has gone to school with one supergirl glove and one transformer glove. Hopefully this year it will be Supergirl FTW! Also, I bought some fingerless gloves to try out in the office and I HAVE NOT NOT USED THEM SINCE. I LOVE them. My hands are warm, but my fingers are not constricted by any bulky material. In fact, these aren’t fingerless gloves, they’re more like fingerless mittens, because there’s no individual fingers to them. Yet another idea I should have adopted YEARS AGO.
  • And just not to leave anyone hanging, Ethan has been doing well this week. No major incidents. He appeared to have totally brushed off the girl in his class telling him he was kicked out of daycare. His teacher said that he replied, “No I didn’t.” and he hasn’t brought it up to us at all. The counseling center got back to me and we decided to do some initial psychological testing just to see what’s what. Now that everything seems to be going OK, I feel like maybe I’m overreacting with the whole professional help thing, but I know that it is still the best thing for him. Even if the worst is over, this still can only help him, not hurt.
  • The kids expressed astonishment that there was CHRISTMAS stuff up at Target already. And when we were there yesterday they had already taken down the major Halloween setup. Ethan: “Don’t they know that Halloween isn’t even over yet???” I know, Ethan. I KNOW.

That’s it. I just leave you know with the conversation James and I had last night. I had just been blathering on and on about who knows what and after a short silence, this came out.

Oh, what sweet marital bliss:

me: God. I hate the sound of my voice. I don’t know how you can stand it. Blech. I wish I could just STOP TALKING.
..
james: (SILENCE.)
..
I look at him.
..
He looks at me.
..
I give him THE LOOK.
He grins.
james: I am racking up the points right now!
me: OH NO YOU ARE NOT!
james: What? I am too! I am totally keeping my mouth shut! You know what I COULD BE SAYING RIGHT NOW??
..
I fix him with a stony glare.
me: You are losing more points with every passing second, mister.
james: What??!!!
me, taking on a fake voice: “Oh, honey! Why would you say that? Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have a lovely voice! That’s why I married you! I love you! You’re perfect in every way!
james laughs, and takes on his own fake voice: “I wish you would stop talking! You’ve been driving me nuts for the past 20 minutes! That voice is the voice that is going to drive me to my grave! That voice—
I cut him off, and retort: LOSING POINTS. EVERY SECOND.
james just grins.
me: I’M TELLING THE INTERNET.

Internet, you have been duly informed.

-amy howls at the moon.

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Oct 14 2008

quick weekend recap

Otherwise known as:
OMG SHE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO POST SOMETHING! WITH PHOTOS NO LESS! BRACE YOURSELF!

SATURDAY:
Pumpkin patch with corn maze (tricksier this year!)(we made it out alive)
pumpkin cupcakes with detailed instructions and help given by Jocelyn
visit to firehouse’ open house, complete with HELICOPTER parked out front
t-ball game
t-ball snacks
home to make frosting with detailed instructions and help given by jocelyn (must be orange! we need black for jackolantern features! LET ME HOLD THE MIXER!)
Toy Story 2
bed, oh thank god, bed, Zzzzzzzzz..

SUNDAY
train ride up to Clifton for a Clifton festival
colored hair spraying (jocelyn)
face painting (jocelyn)
getting of balloons (whoops, they were from republicans, oh well)
park playing
denial of buying children tickets for big bouncy thingees
tears shed
accidental letting go of balloon (Jocelyn)
denial of buying ANYTHING that has to be carried home
tears shed
seeing of McCain | Palin stickers EVERYWHERE
seeing NO ONE at McCain|Palin booth, Obama|Biden booth very busy, with all stickers gone
democratic balloon obtained (Jocelyn)
Obama|Biden car bumper sticker obtained
Sighting of Wonder Sarah Palin Woman
(Bipartisan balloons in the family! W00T!)
Funnel cake BOUGHT AND CONSUMED OH YUM!
losing of democratic balloon
tears shed
AND SHED
bipartisanship lasted an entire 5 minutes
Bye bye clifton, drove into fairfax
good vanilla purchased at whole foods (at least i hope, it looks suspicious to me)
book store with kids while
apple store (james) to exchange white recalled outlet thingees
soft serve Kline’s ice cream in Manassas on the way home
GROUP COLLAPSE FROM EXHAUSTION AT HOME
and then to cap the day off… 20 minutes of washing and rewashing Jocelyn’s hair to get all the pink out….
and putting my Obama|Biden sticker in my car in the dark. I didn’t do that great a job. I have never put a bumper sticker on my car.

MONDAY:
James and I stealthily took the kids to their respective schools w/out dropping a hint that it was a day off for us.
Watched a few Futurama’s
Went and saw Burn After Reading (not sure I recommend it)
Lazy long lunch at Rio Grande
Sat and watched kids playing in the water fountain (aren’t they COLD??)
best buy (Sleeping Beauty & Speed Racer purchased)
book store (james)
old navy & kohl’s (me)(new clothes for kids purchased)
kid pickup
surprise dinner at mcdonalds (for the kids, we were still stuffed from lunch)
home

THE END!

EXCEPT FOR!

PICTURES!


Children Posed for Picture In Corn Maze


Children NOT Posed for Picture In Corn Maze


Ethan Shuffling Into Third Base


Jocelyn Girl-Running Into Third Base


Jocelyn’s Pink Festival Hair That Later Took 2 Shampoos To Get Out


Jocelyn’s Butterfly Face Painting


Very Busy Democrat Booth


Totally Dead Republican Booth Directly Opposite Democrat Booth
(to be fair, they could have just been grouped around Wonder Sarah Palin Woman)

Sarah Palin Wonder Woman
Sarah Palin Wonder Woman


Handsome Man Relaxing at Rio Grande

Busy weekend for the Panders.

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Oct 02 2008

Love-Letter To My Husband,

Published by under amy's head,daily,marriage

Hi honey,

I know we haven’t seen each other a whole lot in the last week. Sure I guess we did see each other on the weekend, but what with the tball games and the settling arguments of who gets the pink bowl and She Touched My Toy! No YOU Touched MY Toy! and prying the DS out of our son’s sticky vise-like grip, it doesn’t feel like I’ve seen you that much. I know I’ve been sleeping in the guest room, because of the sinus infection that causes me to spend a non-merry half hour coughing and hacking at 4am (I love you, I see no need to put you through that), so you haven’t gotten to listen to me blather endlessly about all the random shit in my head, the way I always do when I am tired but can’t just lay down and go to sleep already. I haven’t really heard about the random stuff you’ve been thinking over either (aside from the fact that Governor Palin is in way over her head and what was McCain thinking?) I really HAVEN’T seen you much, you’re away Tuesday and Thursday nights at class, and then there’s often homework for said math class on other nights, and damn, life is busy isn’t it?

So yeah. It’s been too long since we actually spent time together, talking about something other than the kids, Jocelyn’s burgeoning boredom in tball and Ethan’s misadventures in school, and I know you’re on board when I say we need to get out together, just us (now if only Jocelyn would go to sleep at night instead of calling for one of us 14 times before passing out way past her bedtime, so I would be comfortable even engaging the sitter for the night). We could go see a movie, or maybe a play, have dinner, but mostly it would be nice to remember you’re my husband and not just a housemate whom I tag team with to care for the children, and rotate the laundry. We could just go and have dinner somewhere and annoy the servers by staying and talking for three hours and I’d be happy.

I know I told you yesterday that I REALLY appreciated how you cleaned the kitchen, but I want to put it down right here – You absolutely, totally and completely made my day. That kitchen has kicking my ass for a week and a half and every time I could almost quite get it to nearly clean but not all the way, but you did it, it was beautiful, and I can’t tell you how much I love you for that. You do so much for me and the kids and the house, and I appreciate it.

Now that the azithromiaxoxicillin is kicking this sinus infection to the curb (I actually slept all night last night!) it won’t be long before I’ll be climbing into our own bed for the night, oohing about how much I love clean sheets, and blathering to you endlessly in the moments before sleep, (shoosh, you know you miss it) and wake up to see your face for a brief instant before the kids climb into bed virtually demanding to be tickled and kissed and then up and showers and teeth-brush-overseeing must begin.

I miss you, I love you, and I can’t wait to spend some time with you,

Love,
Amy

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Apr 14 2008

happy birthday to mah baby-daddy!

Published by under amy's head,cooking,kids,marriage

Err, mah BABIES’-Daddy!

Seriously, what is the proper grammer for the daddy to TWO babies? The world needs to know.

This weekend, I kept pestering James to tell me whether he wanted me to make him a cake, or if I should just buy the ultra decadent so-much-chocolate-it-may-kill-you cake from Costco (the tall layer one, with shaved chocolate on top of the frosting. OK, I’m salivating now. Good lord.)

He said, “Oh, you can just get the costco one, that’s fine.”
me: “Or I could make you one.”
him: “That’s fine too.”
me: “I’m gonna make you one.”
him: “ok already!”

I wanted to make him a cake because I haven’t baked anything in a while, and I love to bake. And also because it’s much funner with the kids to make one than to just go buy one. We had the important “what kind of cake should we make for daddy?” discussion.

“Carrot cake!” was Ethan’s vote. I quickly corrected him. (He’s really come about-face on this carrot cake business.)
“Well, carrot cake is good, but I think maybe chocolate. Because your daddy LOVES the chocolate. He is a chocolate lover.”

Jocelyn loved this description of James and has used it multiple times over the past few days. “Daddy is a CHOCOLATE LOVER!”

So in the end, I decided to make him a marble cake, because that’s what his mom used to make him when he was a kid. Only I wanted to fancify it, so instead of just using a 13×9 cake pan like the recipe said to, I decided to put it in 2 round pans.

Marble cake is a vanilla cake where you take part of the batter and add chocolate to it, and then pour the vanilla batter in first, and the chocolate on top and swirl it around a bit so when it’s baked and you cut into it, it’s all marbley with vanilla and chocolate cake.

So, since James IS a chocolate lover, I debated aloud on whether I should make the primary cake chocolate, instead of vanilla, so that would make the majority of the batter chocolate, which he likes better. Then I decided not to, and said aloud, “I should probably just stick to the recipe.”

james: “So NOW you’re going to stick to the recipe, but when I cook, you always want me to do things your way even when I’m trying to stick to the recipe!”

Pish. That’s all I have to say about that. (“Pish” is good for when you have no leg to stand on, see.)

So last night, I prepared my batter and sprayed my 2 round pans, and had the batter all ready to pour, but it did NOT LOOK like nearly enough batter to fill 2 round pans. So I poured the whole thing into ONE round pan and right then, I could tell I was really screwed. It was way too full. But it’s a MARBLE cake, so I couldn’t transfer some of it to the other cake pan or it would stop being marble-y and just be … all mixed together brown cake? Not marble cake? Not sure what you would call it! So, knowing I had screwed the pooch, I just put the over-full round pan on a cookie sheet and slid it into the oven.

(Another reason one should probably not make marble cake in 2 round pans – the “marble” effect is probably better acheived in a single big pan. Then there is plenty of each batter (plain and chocolate) to make it the nice marbly effect when one batter is put on top of the other batter. If you split all that in half, as you would have to with 2 pans, there’s not as much of each type of batter to blend with each other it probably wouldn’t make as nice of an effect.)

Sure enough, 30 minutes later it had overflowed and half the cake had bubbled out onto the sheet pan.

So for James’ birthday, he gets the costco it-will-send-your-blood-sugar-to-new-heights chocolate cake AND he gets to taunt me about tweaking the recipe with disastrous results, which I usually bristle at with unbridled fervor. Now he can tease me all he likes and I will just have to TAKE it because of my cake disaster. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HONEY! MAKE MY LIFE HELL! :)

This morning James made the “i’m getting out of bed” movements, so I quick told him to stay put for a few minutes and scurried into the kids room.

me: “Guess what today is?”
Now usually, Ethan answers these sort of questions first. But today, Jocelyn totally put the smack down and answered instantly.
j: “DADDY’S BIRTHDAY!!!!!”
m: “You guys want to climb into our bed and sing him happy birthday?”
j&e: “YEAAAAAAHHHH!!”

And so they did. And it was so super cute. Cuter than bunnies on top of puppies, they were so cute.

Then I told the kids, “Guess what, guys. Mommy ruined the birthday cake! So I’m going to pick you up early from school, and we’re going to go to costco to get one from there.”

Ethan: “Yay! Carrot cake!”
Jocelyn: “No! Not carrot cake. CHOCOLATE. Because Daddy is a CHOCOLATE LOVER.”

That girl. She kills me with the CUTE.

So this morning, we had a gouge or two out of the ruined birthday cake for a post breakfast snack, and tonight we’ll be lighting candles on top of the costco death-by-chocolate cake.

Because James is a CHOCOLATE LOVER.

Happy birthday to the best baby-daddy a girl could have!

love you sweetie.

3 responses so far

Apr 08 2008

new belated april banner

Published by under marriage,photos

We celebrate James’ birthday in April, so it’s only fitting to have a banner that also celebrates him – and what a great daddy he is :) Happy birthday month, baby.

april 2008 crazymokes banner

This photos were taken in September 2006 – and are still some of my favorites.

Previous banners.

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Feb 06 2008

You Really DO Need A Budget!

Published by under amy's head,daily,goals,marriage

Now, I realize that money is one of those things that you are not supposed to talk about, along with religion and politics (and I’ve been pretty good on all those subjects on this here blog so far). I really debated about posting this, as it crosses a line about how much information I want about me and my family out there for all to see. But I feel like there are probably a lot of normal people out there plodding along like we have, who don’t like their situation and who might benefit from hearing some of this.

Without going into too much detail, I’ve been crushing on all the personal finance blogginess and podcasts out there in the inkernet. One of my new years resolutions was to get a better handle on our finances. More than just making sure the bills were paid on time and then spending on whatever until the rest was gone. Probably not a good plan, right? Right! We’ve let some debt accumulate and so it was time to pull my head out of the sand and get moving on it.

(I have even started a super secret money blog in order to keep me motivated. Hello, I am fickle. I need things to keep my attention from wandering when something shiny walks past. And no, I’m not telling you the url. Some dirty laundry should only be read by STRANGERS! See above re: how much information i want about me and my family out there.) (If you’re a stranger, maybe I’ll tell you.)

Obviously, the first order of business was to start spending less, which James is already good at, and me, not so good at. I stopped eating out at work (except for group lunches) and more importantly, on the WAY to work. While this is a good first step, I still needed to know where our money was going and get it to go where I wanted it to go.

Now, I handle the finances in our household, a role that James is fine with. Discussing money and budgeting in our household has not been without stress, conflict, and outright tension. OK, I admit it, when he sometimes (rightfully so) criticizes the state of our finances, I would usually throw up my hands and say, “Let’s see YOU pay all the bills then!” and it would stop about right there.

So the very big important second step was getting the budget in order. I know how to budget – a handy spreadsheet will suffice for most everything, really, but I ran across some budgeting software purely by chance (linked off of one of the personal finance blogs I’m crushing on). It’s called, “You Need A Budget.” Catchy, huh! I’m a quicken user, and I have tried using the budgeting part of quicken, but have found it lacking. Usually I just ignore it, and assign things to categories as the transactions occure. Which, yes, shows you WHERE the money went, after you spent it, but doesn’t not help you put it where you want it to go! And yes, assigning a $200 Target bill to just “household: groceries” is me lying to myself, don’t you think? :)

So enter You Need A Budget – this program is really cool. It’s not produced by a company, just a guy who decided to put his own budgeting system into software form (it was originally an excel spreadsheet, which you can also purchase) and there you go.

Now this is the part where I should just point you to the software and let you look further if you’re interested, but I can’t. I love it so much, I’m going to get into it right here. I don’t blame you if you skip the rest, but there’s some touchy feely crap at the bottom, if you want to just skip to there.

The software has 2 main screens – the register, and the budget. The budget screen has the month at the top, with a big number, which is your available money. Then there are all the categories. To start, you switch over to the register, make an income entry which is whatever your checking account balance is, and then when you go back to the budgeting side, voila, that number is there as “available” to budget with.

So then, you think about what you’ve got coming up, (the phone bill, the gas bill, the kids’ piano tuition, groceries, etc.) and in each category, you assign what you think you’ll spend. As you enter numbers for each category, the available amount decreases. You keep on doing this, until you get that available number to 0. Now all your money is ASSIGNED. It all has a JOB to do. You can make or change categories to fit your needs.

Now, as you go through the month, you enter your purchases in the register, and it will show up as “spent” in the budgeting screen. You can see with a quick glance that you’ve spent $79 of your $400 grocery budget, and it will even show you the available balance left.

It used to be that as the month went on and our checking account balance dwindled, I would grow worried & concerned $600 left in the checking account used to be, “what is going to happen? will that stretch far enough?” Now, in my budgeting screen, if I’ve assigned amounts to all the categories I can think of (including some categories for yearly expenses, like car tax and tuition) and see that I still have $600 “available” – it’s like I “found” money to put into savings or towards debt!

There’s a whole other side to the software too, which is the methodology, called the “Rules” which I also adore. I am not going to get into them much though – if you want to read more, it’s on the website.

I could go on, and I WILL go on, if you really want me to. But I won’t go on any more right here. If you’re looking to get your finances in order, this is a great piece of budgeting software.

TOUCHY FEELY CRAP

Let me just say this – the best part about this software? James and I are on the same page. He still doesn’t really look at the budget, I’m pretty much handling all the money… But no one feels like they’re being told what to do, we’re in this together and there are no more arguments, we both know where the money is going, and we are both on the same page. We have made some very specific goals and our budget reflects that. You HAVE heard that money is the #1 cause of divorce, right? (OK, I just made that up, but it MIGHT be true!) While we still have work to do in front of us, it is nice to have a plan, and nice to know we’re pointed in the right direction.

Also – It really makes me think twice about buying stuff. It’s very freeing. I don’t feel the need to buy useless crap anymore. Crap that only clutters my home and we don’t really need. I know this feeling won’t last, and there’ll be times when I just want the INSTANT GRATIFICATION of a new whateverwhatsits..

But you know what else? If I do? There’s money in the “Amy’s fun money” budget category for whatever the hell I want.

-amy

4 responses so far

Jan 28 2008

Last NIght We Watched SuperBad

Published by under amy's head,marriage

me: Do all high school boys really talk like this??

james: *just looks at me*

me: OK, did YOU really talk like this?

james: *just looks at me*

me: *just looks at him*

james: Actually, I don’t think I was *that* bad.

me: I don’t want our children to grow up. Ever.

james: I don’t think that plan will really work.

me: OK. Then next week we’re going to church. They can reject religion later in life, just as long as they don’t act like this when they get to high school.

3 responses so far

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