Friday, February 25, 2011


We should have done this MONTHS ago. Ethan started Ritalin (I know I said something earlier but now I want to update how it's going). He started it on the 9th and I can't even begin to describe the difference we've seen. He's still the same sweet Ethan, still active, energetic, fun, loving. But now, he's also confident, he smiles differently after school. It isn't just happy to be home but it's an obvious feeling of success.

Homework is no longer a chore, he doesn't spend 2 hours of his evening doing homework. He spends 30 minutes sitting and then he has the rest of his evening to himself. He walks in the door and instead of asking to do it later, he gets it out (without being prompted). He sits at the bar and reads to me, before I sat with him and struggled through every. single. word. But now, he asks for help on maybe 3 words in the whole book. His spelling tests have done a 180, instead of missing every word, he might miss 3 on the first day and the day before the test, he rarely misses any! He's always been good at math but now he can even read the instructions and it only takes him a few minutes to complete the whole work sheet!

At school, he used to lose recess time to finish his class work and most of his papers were done with the teachers assistance but now, he works independently and is able to complete his work on time, and he's now the first done with math and has only missed one answer since being on medications.

Our school does something called a weekly assessment. This is a weekly test taken independently testing reading, math and other crucial scores. Ethan's test scores have not just improved, they've improved 100%!!! If he was getting a 42% before, it's not an 86%, and that was the lowest grade on the assessment!! 3 of his scores were 100%!!! I see a bright future ahead for this boy!

However I could kick myself for not putting him on the meds before now!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Starting our Garden

Tonight the boys and I are going to start our Garden...we're starting our seeds in our pete moss pots. We're planting a TON of seeds and just hoping enough make it through for a garden this spring! We're planting squash, zuccini, onions, tomatoes, snap beans, melons, carrots and peppers, I'm sure there's more but I'm drawing a blank! SO ready for spring!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spontaneous weekend!!

This weekend I had plans with my sister to take all the kids to Chuck E Cheese. We figured the kids could run and play and do while we got a chance to catch up. The original plan was for me to load up all my kids after church, and drive to Urbana where we’d meet sister and her kids, get in the car and drive to Springfield. Perfect. So after church I loaded all the kids into the car, stopped at my Grandma’s for coupons and as I was getting back in the car I got a text from sister “Does 3 work for you?” It couldn’t work that late, my kids had school the next day and needed to be in bed by 8:30, we would be 2 hours from home so we’d have to leave by 6:30 if not earlier and sister’s kids wouldn’t be ready to go by then. So I asked her to come to our C.E.C. because that could work, we could leave at 8 and I’d have my kids in bed by 8:30….no luck, I assume she got a better offer but wasn’t willing to drive here, we’d have to go to her. I was bummed, so of course I handled it like any mature woman in her late 20’s would handle it. I pouted. Todd offered to do fun things, and movies and popcorn and buy toys for the kids, and go shopping…he tried so hard, I was having none of it…I was pouting (it was sad really). Then he did something that shocked us both. He walked to the dining room, stood for a moment looking reflectively at the walls, reached up, grabbed a piece of wall paper and ripped. *gasp* it came off in one clean strip, then a second…I started to help but he shew’d me out the door, Ryan in hand with instructions to return with plaster and paint chips. Here is the before:

(You kind of have to look behind the table and Ryan as I have no real before pictures)

Thirty minutes later we were sitting in a pile of paint chips and room idea cards, weeding out the definite “no”s and hanging on to the “maybe”s…holding them up to see what we thought. I wanted blue, Todd didn’t, he wanted green, I didn’t….one thing was for sure, we wanted color…no more drab, we’d lived in drab long enough and we were done with it! Finally he held up a taupe and a green…he liked one, I liked the other, and underneath it, was a room idea card, it was the taupe we liked, with a green that was a mix of the ones we each liked. Perfect. To Lowes! Drop cloths, rollers and brushes oh my! Primer and Taupe and Green! We spent the rest of the evening priming the walls while the kids watched movies and entertained themselves, by ll:00 the primer was on (it covered nice and thick), the next morning the boys had school but I was off work, so Todd got up early, put Ryan in our bed with me and readied the boys for school, when I finally came down at about 8:00 he had half the room edged!! Amazing! And by bed time Monday night our dining room looked like this:


Fell Off the Wagon

humph. This weekend we fell of the financial budgeting wagon and *gasp* ate out twice! Not only that but then...we REALLY fell of the wagon! We bought paint for our dining room ($150). Which set us behind by $150. So now our pay off plan looks like this:

$259 Dr. M
$210 Dayton Childrens
$307.60 LMPC
$50.00 FSH
$390.00 Torey
$167.53 Dayton Childrens
8.78 JTDMH
(total of $1392.91)

$3237.06 credit card
$3252.73 credit card
(total of $6489.79

$800.00 savings

total of $8682.70, we will have about $250 of medical bills to pay and paint to buy for the living room (about $100) which leaves about $1000 "lost" or frivolously spent. Oops. Back to the bandwagon we go. I am happy with the progress we made and fairly confident we can avoid using credit cards in the future...this isn't a change we've been able to make over's work and constant struggle with our human nature, but we're getting there slowly (very slowly).

On that note, Todd is thinking about driving this summer to "help the cause" We're hoping he can drive truck part time and earn enough to pay off the ATV, add to the savings and pay for the vacation. Now he just has to find time to apply for the job!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Credit Card Debt Free

Todd and I rearranged some things and decided that instead of putting all the vacation money into a savings that will earn little to no interest while we pay interest on credit cards, we would pay off the credit cards and save up for the vacation. We need $1500 and already have $300, so in $1200 we can take our vacation! I'm not sure if we'll go in May as originally planned...I'm not completely comfortable with pulling everyone out of school...maybe instead we'll go closer to the end of summer as people start to get would also put a few more months on Ryan which at this age could make a huge difference in how he fairs. At any rate, we are now credit card debt free! WOOT WOOT! Now we're just a 4 wheeler away from all our small debts being paid off and only having Todd's truck loan to battle!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I need to rant. It'll be short. Promise.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm bloated, nauseous and so emotional! I could sit here and cry. I have teared up over the last 27 tv shows and commercials. And I'm breaking out. I have 3 zits! I NEVER break out. It might have something to do with the 12 pounds of chocolate I have consumed since Friday. I just can't stop myself...I feel like I graze constantly. ugh. I'm tired. Ok, rant over.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This & That

Debt Free Living

In the interest of making big changes in our lives, we made a big decision last night that we've been struggling with for nearly a year. We "own" a 4 wheeler...and by own I mean we are paying for a 4-wheeler. A 4 wheeler that lives in the country at my Mom's house. We enjoy it...the 2-3 times a year we use it. It's not worth $176 every month. We regret ever buying it. We received a lump sum of just over $9000 a few years ago and used that money to pay off my van, and instead of then sticking that money toward other debts or savings, we bought the 4-wheeler. Todd had always wanted one and I had always wanted to get him one. what a waste. So now we're hoping to break even and sell it for what we owe. ugh. But on the flip side, we could have $176 free up every month which gets us $176 closer to our goal! Now to find a buyer!

Also, we now have one credit card paid off and only have a balance of $1250 on the other credit card! This is AMAZING!

I love watching this all unfold. It's an amazing journey starting from a place of such waste and true "living in the moment" to get here....thinking ahead, putting thought into our financial moves, thinking long term and not responding to immediate satisfaction.

Ethan this weekend

This weekend I had the following conversation with Ethan (it's recorded on my Mom's facebook page but I'd like to have it here too):

me: even though we're hanging out at Grandma's house tonight, she won't be there

Ethan: why?

me: she's going to a party

Ethan: what kind of party?

me: a grandma party

Ethan: what will they do there?

me: dance

Ethan: Grandma can't dance!

me: Grandma's a good dancer!

Ethan: yeah like this *imitates a grandma dancing with a walker*

Ethan: who will she dance with?

me: the grandpas

Ethan: unacceptable!!!

Blessed Beyond Belief

Today we received a TRUE blessing. The boys missed the bus, so I just figured I'd take them on my way to work. No Problem. We walked out the door at 7:48, enough time to get them to school and be at work right on time. My van didn't start. crap. Not good. Tried again. Nothing. So Todd {since he was home (blessing number 1)} put his Blazer nose to nose with my van and charged my battery...20 minutes later it still wouldn't start, so Todd put everyone in his truck and delivered them to school and me to work, then went to get my battery to have it tested to see if it was good (blessing number 2 - we thought it was only the battery) (blessing number 3 - - we have the money in an emergency fund if something big is wrong). The battery was fine...but there was corrosion on the battery not allowing the power out of the battery. (blessing number 4 - - nothing was wrong). Todd cleaned off the battery and all was good. We didn't dodge a bullet this morning, God was our bullet proof vest!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life is Good.

Life isn't always good. Today it is. Ethan started Ritalin this week....he was on it last year but we took him off it.

It was bed time and he had been on the medication for about a month at that point, in conjunction with the med he got a nightly dose of melatonin to help him sleep. We were all in the middle of something, I was dealing with a screaming baby, Lane Michael was getting bed snack and Todd was doing homework. He got the wrong med (Todd or I gave him this med and accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle) basically he got a double dose of Ritalin. Ugh, what a night! We called poison control, they said he would be fine but we'd have to just play the night by ear, kind of hold on and hope for the best. So we did. And what a night it was. He woke up a few hours after he had gone to bed, crying that there were spiders on him...crawling on him, attacking him...and the aliens were coming...coming in from the windows...he wasn't safe there...we took him to our bed, hoping he could sleep if he felt safe...the "spiders" started falling from the ceiling, trying to get to him. After much guilt, and diliberation we decided, I would spend the night up with him, waiting out the halluciations. The "bugs" chased him through the night, at one point, there was no floor, it was falling away...the "bees" were nearly as big as he was...he chased through the house with them, after them, from them...never really seemed scared of these things...just couldn't sit, lay or stand still...the "spiders" might start their antics again. Finally at nearly 4 am the hallucinations started to subside...but by that time I was rattled, shaken, scared...I couldn't have a repeat, I couldn't put my boy through that again. I wouldn't. His education is vital but at what price? We disposed of the meds, talked to the doctor we were seeing at the time, and looked again at alternative methods. We tried educational drills, working and re-working, diet changes, sleep patterns and extra activity. But the bottom line, he doesn't have ADHD. He has ADD. There is a huge difference. He lacks impulse control but is well behaved, he's active but not uncontrollable, he sits still for class but can't keep his head in the game long enough to apply what he knows.
So last week we started the meds back up. Thursday morning we gave him his med and Thursday after school he nearly glowed as he told me how he finished his work with the rest of the class...something he's NEVER been able to do! He did his spelling words and on the first try, got 6 of 10 right! Another first. I see the need, I see the difference.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Little Stuff Adds Up

We've discovered that we're wasteful. (well, I have anyways). Yesterday on my trip to a thrift store, I was rummaging through their little boys clothes...I found a few decent items for them, and then I turned around...the men's rack...I mozied on over to see if anything caught my eye. Carhart jeans, Aeropostale khakis, Levis...all in great condition...all in Todd's size...I snatched them up...all of them! 6 pairs of pants (jeans and khakis) for Todd and 3 things for the big boys all for less than $27!! JACKPOT! Then Ethan's coat ripped...and Todd's bookbag ripped...then the zipper on my knee high boots broke....easily $100 to fix these things! But instead, Todd found a shop to fix the bookbag, coat AND boots for $40! They'll also take all the jeans that have been ripped at the knees and turn them into shorts (for a fee of course)...and next year they'll take their new school jeans and put patches on the knees and reinforce them so they don't go through them! I'm hoping these "small" changes will make a difference. I'm generally pretty neutral regarding the Duggars but their saying "buy used and save the difference" definitely resonates with me. My problem is that I don't have time to find the great garage sales and hunt through thrift stores...but when I do find a deal or a bargain and need the item (or will need the item) I definitely snatch it up! I also try to pay it forward...I send all my hand me downs to girls at the church...although, they "could" afford to buy their own "new" baby clothes, I figure why hassle with it, when they can benefit from it? What are the "little" things you do?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mama said there'd be days like this

There'd be days like this
My Mama said
Mama said
Mama said

LOL yesterday before leaving for work, Todd and I were wandering through the house singing this song...if only we had known what our day would hold!
Lane Michael is fine...the cabinet however, it better. The doc offered stitches...I just didn't see the looks much worse in person...the puncture (because he hit the corner of the cabinet) is probably down to the bone. He smiled at me as soon as I walked into the school...I love this goofy, clumsy little boy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

7 Baby Steps

I'm at the very beginning stages of becoming financially smarter and having more freedom. It's been laid upon my heart for a long time to not have debt. This is something I feel convicted to do.

Roman 13:8 let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another

I trust that God put this law into place for good reason, and I trust that in a pinch He will always provide, he does after all love me more than the birds of the sky. But I want to be a good steward with my many (many) blessings. I think when it comes down to it, my main goal is to be a good steward (this may have something to do with my clean house obsession).

At any rate, since Todd has joined my financial team, we have started taking a more serious look at our future and at our current situation and things we can do to change our irresponsible habits. Which is where the D@ve R@msey 7 baby steps came in.

Baby Step 1 - - $1,000 emergency fund

step 1 - check

Baby Step 2 - - Pay off all debt using the snowball system

we'll be starting this process with our tax return, we will be debt free by 2013, this is exciting for me because also in 2013, Todd will be graduating and able to start looking at teaching positions, which will help with our next baby steps.

Baby Step 3 - - 3-6 months of expenses in savings

I've always kept our budget and expenses so that we can live off one income if necessary, which proved to be a blessing when Todd was laid off from truck driving just a month before Ryan joined our family. I have said it before and will say it again, God does not work in mysterious ways...this layoff forced our hand on Todd furthering his education. Our family has been happier even with less money and eventually it will pay off. But there are still expenses that would need covered in the case of some catastrophic event (one of the 5 of us falls ill or something along those lines). Our monthly budget "need" includes our mortgage, car payments, electric, phone, insurance, cable, heat, food and medication grand total of $3,127 (of course we would cut back if necessary but right now that is our monthly budget) so for 6 months of living expenses saved up we would need $18,672 (or $9,381 for 3 months), this number is for our current budget (not our debt free budget). And in an effort to remain debt free we will start saving immediately for a truck for Todd...I want him to have exactly what he wants, meaning we will want a pretty good cushion to work with. So for this step we will probably save $10,000 and then start on the truck savings account of $15-20,000 (maybe more depending on what he wants).

Baby Step 4 - - Invest 15% of household income to Roth IRAs and pretax retirement

This step is scary for (because I know so little about them) scare me...research will need to be done.

Baby Step 5 - - College funding for children

We will have 2 in college at once and as soon as we get them through their little brother will start. Todd and I have agreed, disagreed, fought and finally compromised on this. We have decided that for HS graduation they will get a *nice* laptop to see them through college and we will buy their books, we will fund *some* living expenses but we expect great things from our children, including working while going to school. We will be happy to help them during this time in their life but we think they will be more apt to buckle down if they are not handed a free ride. So we will save enough for books and laptops but not tuition...

Baby Step 6 - - Pay off your house early

We bought our house at a great price with a decent interest rate, our house payment is $746, it would be easy (by this time in the 7 step program) to put an extra $250 to the principle every month.

Baby Step 7 - - Build wealth and give!

I'm very excited to get to this step! To be in a place in life where we can live comfortably, and build wealth, have something to leave our children with, maybe have a place on the lake for them to spend weekends and holidays. This step is worth the first 6!