Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's get ready to rrruuuummmmmbbbbblllllllleeeeee!

Next Monday, our eldest daughter starts soccer. This is our first foray into organized sports. My husband grew up in organized sports and considers it an important part of childhood. I did not. My mother didn't like to be outdoors, so she signed us up for bowling and 4H. Yeah, I was that cool.

We found out that our daughter will be on a team of girls where most of the girls are 1 - 2 years older than her and have been playing together for awhile. Hubby said the coach was of European descent. The image of Nadia Comaneci's coach comes to mind, but I haven't met the guy yet. We're hoping this is a nice, friendly, non-competitive league but fear that we're signing her up for the junior Olympics. Hopefully I'll meet the coach and other parents on Monday and feel totally at ease at the laid-back nature of the team.

We bought her clothes today. Under Armour style shirt, soccer shorts, cleats, soccer socks and shin guards. I'm assuming that we'll need more than one set of clothes, but the original set cost enough that I wasn't inclinded to buy two at that moment. Here she is all decked out.


It is still really cold outside. I wonder if she also wears a jacket while she runs around at practice. Do the other kids wear clothes under or on top of their soccer clothes? Would a better mom already know the answer to those questions? I don't want her to look like a dork. I think there is already a small twinge of fear that all the other kids will already know each other and that she'll feel left out. But, you don't get anywhere in life by being afraid to put yourself into new situations. So off to soccer practice we will go.

Anybody got any soccer advice for me?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A New Challenge

I'm just three days away from finishing my current challenge (7 months with no clothing shopping...more on that in a coming blog), so I'm ready to start a new challenge.

This challenge with be coupons! For two months, I am going to try my hand at cutting coupons to use while I grocery shop. I've resisted doing this until now. My husband has brought it up several times during budget conversations, but I've always replied that I thought it would end up costing me more grocery money because I would buy things I don't normally purchase. Yesterday he asked me if I would be willing to try coupons if I could spend the money on myself. "Uh...yeah...I think I would."

So for a 2 month trial period, I will track both my grocery purchases (to make sure that I don't end up spending more than I've got in my grocery category) and my coupon savings. If I could save $10 bucks a week, I would double my current clothing allowance. That would be amazing, but perhaps is too lofty a goal. Maybe I should shoot for just $5 a week in savings. Of course, I will need to steal the coupon section of my parent's Sunday paper; I don't want to subtract the cost of a newspaper subscription from my coupon savings!

At the end of the two months, hubby's offer to let me have the coupon savings will end. By that time, I should be able to determine if coupon cutting is worth the time or whether I should give it up.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Now it is time to pay the piper

Okay, so I love my new car, but it is time to figure out how to make it fit in the ole family finances. This is the part that my dear hubby doesn't waste any sleep over. Why would he when he knows I'll work it over in my head until I've come up with a solution?

So, $3600. Where am I going to get $3600? Hubby "found" the money to pay the car dealership by stealing all the funds in my short-term accounts (x-mas savings, savings for car insurance payment, saving for our 15 year anniversary trip to Maui, saving for the basement construction). Now I must figure out how to find the funds to pay for things like the car insurance payment that will be due very shortly.


Well, that is 13 years worth of kids birthday parties (3 kids x 100 bucks a party x 13 years). Do you think the kids will mind no parties for 13 years? Netflix costs us $10 a month...$120 a year...that would take us 30 years...that won't work. Renting out our basement is an option to consider, but we would have to find just the right person to make that work...someone who is rarely around, has no objectionable habits and who pays on time. The easiest way to find the cash is to hire out my husband for construction work or OT shifts at the firehouse, but those opportunities are harder to come by in this economy. I will be able to put our tax refund check (assuming we get a refund) towards it, but I already had that mentally committed to paying for the kids swimming lessons.

Maybe I'll just shoot for finding ways to trim the budget by about $50 - $100 a month and then try to get OT shifts to pay for the rest. Given how often my furnace breaks (broken again today...brrrr), there ought to be some savings in my gas bill...oh wait...running the gas fireplaces non-stop probably eats that up!

Got any tips for how to shave $50 - $100 bucks a month out of my budget? I'm listening!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hey, I thought it was funny.

A mature (over 40) lady gets pulled over for speeding...
Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma'am, you were speeding.

Older Woman: Oh, I see.

Officer: Can I see your license please?

Older Woman: I'd give it to you but I don't have one.

Officer: Don't have one?

Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.

Officer: I see...Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.

Older Woman: I can't do that.

Officer: Why not?

Older Woman: I stole this car.

Officer: Stole it?

Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.

Officer: You what?

Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you
want to see.

The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and
calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior
officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The
woman steps out of her vehicle.

Older woman: Is there a problem sir?

Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and
murdered the owner.

Older Woman: Murdered the owner?

Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am?

Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers.
The officer is quite stunned.

Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving

The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands
it to the officer.

The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.

Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, one of my officers told me you didn't have
a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up
the owner.

Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.

Thanks to Aunt Marni for sending that to me!! =) Love ya!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Really, it isn't just about the eating.

This week hubby is working a lot...which means I am working a lot without the benefit of adult interaction (distraction?). Today was shaping up to be a long stressful day, so I decided the best way to get through the morning was to involve the kids in a lengthy activity that would take us straight up until naptime. That activity was baking. Here we are:


It isn't a new thing for me to use baking as a way to move through stressful times. In fact, it is one of my favorite stress busters. I came to the realization today that the stress release comes from the enjoyment of baking, not necessarily in the joy of eating whatever it is that I made.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm above enjoying the fruits of my labor. =)


Maybe I should save one to eat while I watch the Biggest Loser tonight!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The nerve of that guy

Dear Hubby turns 37 in about 10 days. I, being the good wife that I am, thought about what I wanted to get him for his birthday. He had recently ripped a hole in the pair of jeans that looked hottest on him, so I decided to replace those jeans for his birthday. A present for us both, natch.

So, I find the jeans in his closet, figure out that they are David Britton's Buffalo Game jeans in a size 34 and do a quick web search. Nada...hmmm, must be an older model of Buffalo jeans than what's currently in the stores. So I turn to ebay. where I find a pair of Game jeans, at a price I can afford.


I bid. I win. I'm happy, right? Wrong. Turns out dear hubby has been successful in changing his waist size via his P90x workouts. After 10 years of being a size 34, the man informs me that after 30 days of working out he is now a size 32. I should be thrilled, but I'm a little annoyed to have just bought a pair of jeans off ebay that I cannot return.

I have a hot husband, but now gotta sell a pair of jeans on ebay. I suppose that is still a win.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Say Hello to our new used vehicle

Hubby and I came home yesterday with a new-to-us-2005 Honda Pilot yesterday. We traded it in for my 2006 Honda Odyssey mini-van.
Lisa's Honda Pilot

The goal of our car trade was to get a vehicle with 4wd. The Honda Pilot has 4wd, comparable features and mileage as my minivan, and the extra bonus of a dvd player for use on long trips (only!).

We were both drawn to a 2006 Acura MDX and considered it up to the last minute. It is sportier and sexier than the Honda Pilot, but comparable in all feature aspects except for a vehicle cost of $1000 more. It was our intention to leave the dealership with a trade that didn't cost us more than about $3000, so the Acura would have increased our out of pocket cost by 25%. I am proud of us for selecting the Pilot even though both of us really wanted the Acura. The Honda fits all of our needs and the only reason we liked the Acura is because it looks better.

The other option -- 2006 Acura MDX

It is an interesting feeling leaving the mini-van behind. We were so grateful to drive around the nice comfortable mini-van, but we are both super glad to leave it behind too. It feels like we are trasitioning out of baby-dom. We've passed through the years of infant car seats and huge strollers. We no longer need to have a flat surface of the van floor to change diapers on when we are out-and-about. It feels like a little piece of my before-kids life has been restored to me, although I certainly didn't drive an 8-seater vehicle before I had kids. I'm looking forward doing the mom-taxi thing in my new car.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two Cooks in the Kitchen

Today I thought Scott was working an overtime shift (following his normal shift yesterday) and wouldn't be home until tomorrow morning. I made mental plans for how I was going to survive spend my day with the kids. The OT shift didn't work out and my dear husband arrived home this morning. It was so nice to see him. I love that he's home...and yet, it totally changes how the day will go. Suddenly you have two people planning the Saturday, two cooks in the kitchen.

I was going to take the kids to visit my grandmother. He is scrambling around trying to find a sitter so we can go look at trading in my mini-van for a 4wd vehicle. My van came back from the shop with the news that my tire tread is almost gone and it will be around $800 to buy new tires. He is convinced the only reason my tire tread could be that low after only 40000 miles is because of all the wheel-spinning I've done in the snow....hence the need for 4wd. (Let's not tell him it is really my occasionally abrupt braking patterns.) He figures he can trade in my van for a comparable 4wd vehicle for about 3 with the nearly $1000 he was going to have to spend on tires it won't be more than a 2 grand hit. Where we are going to get that 2 grand is another question, but I'm trying to stay out of that one.

He did look at my Microsoft Money program and see that we had a ton of cash in checking, but then I downloaded the current transactions and popped that bubble for him. Hey, what are wives for if not to pop their husbands dreams?

So, grandma will have to wait...hopefully a visit tomorrow will work out. Today is about car shopping now. Think good thoughts. I think car dealerships are stressful!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I think my child must be a major suck-up

My eldest daughter, one of the three apples floating around in my eye, is delightful. She's happy, she's thoughtful, she's cute-as-a-button, and I think she might be a suck-up. She comes home with so many Praise Notes from school. A Praise Note is a recognition that a kid gets for going above and beyond. You can get them from helping another child who is crying or setting a good example, or any host of other things. My child has 17. The first two she got I displayed proudly in my kitchen. As more and more came home, I started to stack them. Actually, it is quite possible that she had more than 17 because I stopped being careful about where I put them some time ago. The last praise note that she got was from the bus exceptional can the child possibly be while she sits in her seat and rides the bus?

It isn't that I don't want her to be a good kid. I do. I just don't want her to be doing good just to seek recognition from her teachers. I think the other kids will hate her for that and it a lesser motivation that doing good because her heart wants to help others. (Interestingly, her mom struggles with that same I want to help others because it makes me feel like a good person or do I do it because I really truly want to sacrifice for others. Still working on that.)

My options are limited. I certainly can't rebuke her for being a suck-up when I wasn't even there to witness it. I must smile and tell her that I am proud of her for making good choices at school. I exclaim "wow" proudly when she brings home yet another pencil from her principal. But I might book her a few playdates with her friends away from school so they can see she really is a fun kid....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Well, it's not about world peace

Unlike my friend Teena, who aims for socially important topics in her blog, this blog will be about my fashion sense. Enthralling, I know.

I've always wanted to have a better grasp on my own personal style. I watch the TLC show What Not To Wear and listen eagerly for any advice that might apply to me. I wonder "Am I a pear?" "Am I an hour glass?" I never have figured that one out. I'm clearly more ample around my derriere than I am at my bust line, but I have a defined waist which is a characteristic of an hourglass...but I digress.

So, where was I? Oh yes, my personal style. I was flipping through a Lucky magazine and found an article that showed examples of lots of different styles. I was able to easily find my preferences among the different outfits and suddenly I know a little bit about my personal style. Downtown Bohemian? Nope. Funky Ladylike? Uhuh. Sweetly Slouchy? Nope. Thrown-on Sexy? Sorry. Witty Classic? Maybe. Tough Romantic? YES!!! There I was, reflected in the style choices of the tough romantics. Sweet blouses with edgy jeans and a pair of rockin' heels. Black t-shirts with skirts. It's me...or maybe just who I want to be. My favorite pair of jeans is a hand-me-down pair I got from Keri. Citizens of Humanities is the brand. They are distressed, worn, a bit too holey at this point, and 2 sizes too big...but I love them so I throw on a belt and wear them happily. In just 2 weeks, I'm planning a shopping trip where I may replace those jeans with a pair that fits, but now I know to look for a pair with edgier characteristics and maybe I'll love the new pair just as much.

Lisa out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's so wrong with being late occasionally?

Okay, so we all know that I don't suffer from lateness. If anything, I arrive chronically early for life. I plan a half hour for every 20 minute drive just in case all the lights are against me, or there is a traffic snarl, or I accidentally lock myself out of my car at the gas station and need someone to quickly rescue me so I can still be on time to my destination.

Lately, though, I've been allowing myself to be late taking Cheyenne to preschool. There are just some mornings where getting out the door seems harder than others. This morning, Cade slept late. He usually gets up at 7 am, but at 9 am he was still sleeping. Normally I leave for preschool at 9:04. I woke up Cade at 9 and let him have a little breakfast before we left. Cheyenne was about 12 minutes late for preschool. I had to justify it to myself that being late was the right thing to do...after all, I PAY for is supposed to be a convenience for me...and they do free time for the first 15 minutes of preschool anyway, so she isn't causing an interruption to circle time or anything. I think it is a bit odd that I have to convince myself that it is okay that she is late; on some level, it clearly feels not OK to me. I think it causes me more stress to be late than it does to make my family crazy while I yell like a banshee for everyone to get in the car so we won't be late. That doesn't seem logical...but how often are our core emotions actually based in logic?

Well, I'm off to get Cade down to nap. I wouldn't want him to be late for his arbitrary 1 pm naptime.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do I really need another blog...

I've got facebook, pleonast, and I've been considering I really need another blog? I do like Hmmm....we'll see.