Friday, March 30, 2012

Renovation: Week Two

There have been lots of changes to Liam's room/closet this week! It's coming together quite nicely!

Monday: Dad built the wall in the back of the closet and put in some of the insulation. He also put the crawl-space door in it's new place.

Tuesday: Dad put in the rest of the insulation, added the floor to the crawl-space, installed the light, and filled in the hole where the crawl-space door used to be.


Wednesday: Joe stayed home to help dad put all the sheet rock on the walls and the ceiling.

Thursday: Dad finished some loose ends, then did the first round of mudding and taping.

Friday: Dad did some sanding and then did a second round of mudding. Not much of a difference in appearance, but we are one step closer to a finished room/closet!

Next week dad will do one more round of sanding and mudding, next the texture goes on the walls and ceilings, and last the door will go in. Then it's our turn to work! We will paint the walls and put the trim around the floor and chair rail. Almost there!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


For the past 4 months my husband and I have been trying to work out a financial plan that will help us pay-down debt, do some things around the house, save some money for future situations, etc. Even though I work part-time, we have set up our finances in a way that we could be quite comfortable, but we have been pretty stressed because we really haven't had a good plan to balance all of our wants, needs, and future goals. Yesterday, crap hit the fan and we were no longer able to keep out stress from rising to the surface.
We decided to focus on paying off the car right about New Year's. The only problem, we took it extremely overboard. We made a budget that was not possible in the least and got frustrated every month. My husband handles the finances for the most part. I have tried to stay up-to-date, but I think we have been dealing with a lot of miss-communication. Every month since the 1st of the year, we have gone over our budget and added less to the bill than we planned. This was so irritating!
After reading a blog from a wonderful budget-er and friend, we decided to sit down and make a realistic budget that would give us a little extra per month for house stuff, and dare I say-food, and would also pay off the car almost two years early. We were so excited about our new found budget, that we took it even farther, and I made up a plan that will go until we are debt free.
I'm embarrassed to say this, but with the house, student loan debt, and the car (luckily we have no credit card debt) our debt lies at about $400 thousand (rough, rough estimate). When I added it all up, I just about had a heart attack! I haven't even told my hubby the actual number for fear he would get a second, third, or even fourth job! But we also already have a safety net in place, have paid off one student loan and a car in the past two years, so I think we are on the right's just a very, very long one.
The new plan goes until every last cent is paid off and as of right now it will take us less than 20 years! I know that this is a very long time, but I also know we have a MOUNTAIN of debt and that 20 years is nothing, when it comes to having zero debt. I'm confident that this plan will actually work, because it doesn't expect that we put every cent toward debt, this way we will be able to stick to it, and we will also be able to save a bit every month so that we will have a good sized emergency fund just in case things come up. Another reason that I know this will work, is because the plan doesn't account for tax returns, raises, bonuses, etc which we hope are in our future.
We finally feel good about out plan and now we can relax!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Break Plans

In about an hour, I will be heading back to work for a two and a half hour meeting, after that....Spring Break! This is one year where spring break seems to have come very quickly. Usually about this time I'm dragging, exhausted, and ready for a break. This year I still feel all of these things, but less than past years. I have felt rejuvenated all year, and spring break is just kind of a happy surprise this time around. Other than helping my dad finish the renovation project, taking Liam to the pool and library story time, getting a massage, going shopping with a couple of friends, and a very exciting date night with the hubby, we are taking it easy this year.
For spring break last year, we went to Crater Lake and spent some days in a cabin in the snow, just our little family. I loved it, but this year, I want low-key, quiet, relaxing! I also plan to work with Liam on potty training and read a couple of books from the Oregon Battle of the Books list for next year. There will also need to be some time set-aside for working on upcoming assignments for my reading class. So being home most of the time will be a must.
The class is going very well. The instructor gave us all of the assignments for the term on the first day, and I have been working about a week ahead since the beginning. This has been very helpful considering I don't have a whole lot of time to devote to reading a textbook and write papers. It also helps that this class is completely online. I think I will try for this with every class from now on. It may also be a good idea to get started studying for the reading specialist praxis test that I will be taking in about a month.
Wow! Looking at all of those small things, my spring break suddenly seems quite full! Oh well, that's how I like it!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Renovation: Week One

This week has been wonderful for our little family! My dad began working on the closet 4 days ago, and the changes that have taken place since then are amazing and exciting! There is still quite a bit of work to be done, but the progress is continuing and I can't wait to see the finished product (and to have Liam sleep in his own room again). Today my dad finished building the floor and once again, went for more supplies. It's a good thing Home Depot is right down the road. This weekend Joe and I will take a trip there ourselves to pick out the light fixture for the closet and maybe take a look at their storage ideas.
Here is the progress of the day.
It may not look that big, but it's about 12ft long and 6 1/2ft wide. Some of the width will be taken up by clothing racks, drawers, or shelves, but I think it will still be a good size for a closet.
Next Week: The interior walls being built, the sheet-rock being put on the walls, the light fixture being installed, and maybe a door!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Renovation: Day 2 & 3

Lots of changes in Liam's room the last two days!

Day 2: Dad reinforced the beams in the ceiling and spent the afternoon at home depot picking up more supplies. It looks as though not a lot was done, but this part takes a lot of time!

Day 3: Dad moved the outlet, re-wired the closet so we can add a light, took out the door for the crawl-space, and cut the hole for the door.

 Oh....and did I mention that he also started on the floor of the closet?!

I can't believe how quickly this is coming together. Very soon, Liam will have a bigger bedroom and a nice closet for all his stuff. Thanks Dad!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Renovation: Day 1 and 1/2

A few months ago, Joe and I decided that we were going to use some of our tax return to do something exciting to the house. Our choice? Take out the existing closet in Liam's room and add a walk-in closet behind the existing wall. So far, so good!

Yesterday Joe and I did the prep work for my dad to come and get started on our little guy's bedroom/closet remodel/addition. Here's what we did:
Step 1- Before doing anything, I took some pictures so that we could compare before and after. I also wanted to remember the one casualty of this process-the pterodactyl above Liam's closet.

Step 2- Clean everything out of the room, closet, and storage space behind the closet. Then we had to cover the floor and doors with thick plastic.

Step 3- This is where my dad, the contractor, comes in. He tore apart the old closet. There was quite a big mess!

Step 4- Clean up!

What's next? Tomorrow Dad's going to cut and put in the beams to fill in the ceiling.
Coming soon: Door to the new walk-in closet. Stay tuned!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pet-Peeve of the Day

I have a question. What exactly is the point of posting, adding, or pinning a quote that you "like", but you don't actually follow? I'm getting so tired of seeing people post quotes that scream that you should 'forgive your fellow man', 'think about someone else's story', 'be open to change', or 'be the best friend you can be', who have never once followed the advice. This is total crap! If it doesn't match your personality and daily actions, don't pretend it does!
If you post a quote that doesn't actually apply to you, you are being fake. Portraying yourself as a saint, when really you are a normal person who makes mistake, holds grudges, and are stuck in your ways, is wrong. I find it insulting and infuriating that people think they can post a quote, say that it's what they stand for, and then do the exact opposite when it comes down to it.
I challenge all of my readers to check my quotes (on facebook, twitter, pinterest, here, etc.) and please tell me if you think that I am misrepresenting myself. I would hate to do that, since it drives me absolutely crazy when others do it. If it is brought to my attention that a quote I have used is not being followed by me, I'm so happy to remove it from where ever it has been posted. Misrepresentation is just like lying, and I do not want that to be a label that I carry.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Verbal and Literate (Well, sort of.....)

My son is on his way to two, but sometimes he acts like his an adult. I'm so proud of who he is becoming, but also so sad that he's becoming this person so soon. The other day he came out of the office (his playroom these days) with a shopping cart full of toys and a bag around his arm. He looked like a little man picking things up from the grocery store. Then today, when asked how old he is going to be, he said, "Two!" and  pointed one finger from each hand at me. He's growing up way too fast.
A few minutes after the whole "two" thing, he grabbed my phone and said, "Hello?....Hi my Nana. I wav you. Bye my Nana." There were some other words/phrases mixed in there, but these were the words we could pick out. He's also started to tell us stories about his day, like when his Papa scared him by growling, or when he saw "Papa's choo-choo, or when Nana took his na-na (binky for those who don't speak Liam).
My biggest pride as a teacher/parent is that he is now 'reading' books to us at night. He has always been a huge fan of books, we usually read 4-5 a night before bed, and countless books throughout the day. But it is just in the last week or so, that he has decided to start mimicking what we do when we read. I know he isn't actually reading, but I also know he's well on his way!
In my latest reading class, I learned (shocking to me) that some kids actually have to be taught how to hold a book, which way the pages should go, etc. I remember learning which order to read in (meaning left to right, top of the page to the bottom), but I can't imagine making it to kindergarten and not knowing how to hold a book for reading. At least I know my son has pre-reading skills down already! What a relief!

Trimester 3

This morning I got up thinking about all the things I need to do today to prepare for the end of the trimester. I have paperwork, grading, cleaning, planning, and moving some kiddos who are now too smart for me. It's a lot, but it's all exciting! Exciting for me, because I get to throw away all the crap that has been left in my room, I will once again have sparkling clean desks and organized bookshelves, I will get to see and hear the excitement from the students who will learn today that they get another elective because they have improved so much.
It is exciting for them because they get a new schedule, they're grades have been wiped clean and they get to start all over, there will be a new seating chart where they may get to sit next to their friends, and the new curriculum for third tri. is always exciting and fun. My question is, why don't adults get a trimester three. Now, I of course know the realistic answer to this question, but wouldn't it be nice? I would like to get a new daily schedule three times a year, I would like for my past mistakes to be wiped clean and be able to start over new, I would like to move to a seat closer to my friends, have a whole bunch of new stuff going on, and to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I know some of you maybe thinking "Your a teacher! Don't you get all these things too?!" Nope. I have the same schedule every trimester (a couple of kids may change, but for the most part I teach classes that go year-long), the seating chart includes the same kiddos (who I love and adore, but they are the same), and the curriculum is mostly the same as years past, but unlike the kids, the parts that do change are no fun for me. It just means more research, planning, and a lot of trial and error. Also, the light at the end of the tunnel that my students see is there for me too, but it doesn't exactly mean the same thing. They get to play all summer (hopefully) w/o a care in the world, while I take classes and prepare for next year.
I also don't mean that these things should literally happen to me. I just want the opportunity to start fresh and have my outlook changed once and a while. My life is amazing! I have absolutely everything I could need or want, but sometimes adults loose sight of that, and I think switching things up three times a year, may make it more obvious as to what is wonderful in our lives!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Never Forget!

Since finding out that my Thyroid has gone crazy, I have had to take a pill every morning. This might not seem like a big deal, but this pill has to be taken on an empty stomach, and I cannot eat for at least an hour afterwards. I think that this is one reason why I have become addicted to coffee. For some reason, coffee doesn't affect the medication, so I drink quite a bit of it in the morning to keep me full.
It also doesn't help that I have to be out of my house, and on my way to drop off my son, within 45 minutes of waking up. So, no time to eat before-hand. Then I have about a half an hour to get to work. Again, not enough time to eat. Next, I have a half an hour before my students walk through the door. Once again, no time. I usually take some sort of snack (it's so hard to find breakfast that you can make and take). Today I forgot!
This was a huge mistake on my part. By the time I got off work, picked up Liam, put him to bed, and made my lunch, I was starving! I have now been home for about an hour and have eaten: a salad, 2 pieces of pizza, chips, one of Liam's left over fruit cups, and a spoon-full of peanut butter. Apparently, if you let yourself get too hungry, you end up eating everything in sight! I'm soooooo full, and I feel like crap. Note to self: NEVER FORGET YOUR SNACK!!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"One, Two, Three.....Weeeee!"

I'm a bit on the grouchy side at this point. There are many reasons for this, but the most pressing reason for my mood, is my son. He was supposed to be asleep, oh...about two hours ago. In fact he WAS asleep in the car on the way home from my mom's house. But the second we walked into the house, he perked up and thought it was time to play. I said, "Nope, time for bed." I gave him his binky-boo, covered him up, and went down stairs. When I turned on the monitor, silence! I thought that I had dodged a bullet.
No way! Within 10 minutes he was playing in his crib. Talking to himself, singing, and calling for mommy. I waited patiently for him to quiet down and fall asleep. A half an hour later, I hear what sounds like a choking sound. I run up the stairs to see my son standing at the edge of his crib waiting for me. He had a huge smile on his face and proceeded to say "Rock, rock." I took him to the rocking chair and we rocked. Or I rocked, and he squirmed, and wiggled, and tried to get down.
Finally I gave up, put him back in his crib, and went downstairs. He began to cry (he added a bit more enthusiasm to his wailing than usual), and continued to call for me. I have now been ignoring his calls for quite some time now. But do I hear snoring or silence? No. I hear, "One, two, three....weeeeee!" "One, two, three....weeeeeee! This is accompanied by the sound of my son jumping on his bed somewhere between three and weeeee. Would I be a horrible mommy if I just turned off the monitor and let him be? I think not.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scratch that!

Joe and I have been wracking our brains trying to use some of our tax return to make our house, our home. We have lived here for three and a half years and, other than painting the walls and staining some cabinets, have done nothing to make us feel as though this is really our house. We have had tons of amazing ideas! None of them have panned out: dormers, using attic space, expanding/adding rooms, etc. My dad has been an amazing help to us. He has come to our house several times to help us "dreamers" come back to earth.
Today he came for a visit to discuss our most recent thoughts. They all sounded good and looked good on paper, but each one was crossed off the list due to some, unforeseen issue. This is why I'm so glad I have my dad (who has his own remodel/repair business). He was able to see things that we would have never noticed. He probably saved us from having our roof collapse on us, or from falling through the floorboards. We now have a new plan. It's not what I was hoping for, or anything that I expected, but it is a good one that will help Joe and I make this house ours, as well as give us some much needed space.
I had to learn a hard lesson today about over-thinking and expectations. We don't always get what we want (man that sounds familiar!) and sometimes that's for the best. A couple of days ago, I thought that we were living in our forever home, and we might be, but it just won't be what we planned. We will do everything we can to make this house an amazing home for our son, with or without the dream/Martha Stuart/pinterest look.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Long/Strong Life Line

I was reminded this week, how my little family has an amazing group of people who support us. For over a year now, we have left our son with a wonderful friend, who has treated him as if he were her own son. She has taken very good care of him, and we now feel as though she and her family are part of ours. I have always known that she cares about our family in a way that is far more than a business relationship, but her support and understanding in recent days has made that abundantly clear! We are so lucky to have her, and her family in our lives.
I also need to say a huge thank you to my mom who has taken on a great deal to help us. We always know we can count on her to help us with our little man, and that is an amazing feeling! The hubby and I have countless other family members who are willing to do just about anything to help/support us and our son. These people include, but are not limited to: our parents, grandparents, and our siblings. Thank you doesn't come close to covering it, but....thank you!
I have one last thank you. To our fantastic friends! We have so many supportive people who choose to be in our lives. These people would drop everything (and have) to support us in our times of need. I know that I will always have someone to vent to, someone to watch my son- if need be, to offer advise with respect and with the best of intentions. My husband and I have the greatest support staff you could ever ask for, and they are our life-line.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


We all compensate for what we think we are lacking. I just realized that I've been doing this since my son was born. Before my son was born, I believed that pregnancy, child birth, parenthood, childhood, etc. Would all go a certain way. My pregnancy was picture perfect- no health issues, morning sickness, or false labor. Great start! Labor was the first sign that things were not always going to go the way I had planned.
During my entire pregnancy, I tried to hide from what was sure to come. I watched "A Baby Story" religiously for months to prepare for all possible scenarios. Well, all but one. The only time I would turn off the true stories that come with childbirth, was when they were a visual representation of what I was most worried about: the c-section. Call it intuition, or commonsense (if you've ever seen the size of my husband's head), but I just "knew" that having surgery was the only way my baby would come out of me, even though I would never have said it out loud (that would jinx it!).
The day came, and after 24 hours of labor and two and a half hours of pushing without progress, the decision was made. My beautiful baby boy entered this world via c-section. He was perfect except for the huge bruise and sore that sat on the top of his head, signifying the turmoil he went through while I was trying to make him fit. This was enough evidence for me. I was glad that my baby was out, healthy, and that I hadn't continued to hurt him (I've been told that it doesn't hurt them, but I can't imagine it feeling good).
Before he was born, it was my plan to nurse as long as I could. I knew that I would be going back to work full time and that it most likely wouldn't last long once we hit that milestone. However, once I got to this point, I had a determination that I had never seen in myself before. There was no stopping me! It wasn't until this afternoon, that I realized I was so determined to nurse for the first year, to compensate for not being able to have him naturally.
At this point, I don't care why I did it. I did it! But I think that it is interesting how we set ourselves up for situations like this. I couldn't do anything to avoid having a c-section, but for some reason I felt the need to do something (parenting-wise) far beyond what was expected to make up for it. I know I'm not the only woman who does this to myself. Watch out women, we can be our own worst enemy/harshest critic.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Healthy

Since going off to college, like most women, my weight/body image has been something that I've felt the need to keep in check. As most people do, I gained weight my first year and kept the extra pounds for some years after. Although my weight has fluctuated over the years, I've never really felt too uncomfortable in my own skin. I lost about 15 pounds for my wedding, then gained a bit back after the honeymoon (actually while on the honeymoon), lost about ten before going to Europe, then gained more than 50 pounds while pregnant.
About half-way through my pregnancy, I threw out several pairs of pants that were tight and uncomfortable before getting pregnant, sure that I would never fit into them again.
The first nine months of being a mommy went as expected (at least weight-wise). I didn't loose much right away. In fact, most of the weight I put on while pregnant seemed here to stay. At the time, I was still nursing and several people told me that they started to loose the baby weight at about the nine month mark. So I'm not sure if it was the power of suggestion or if it really is true, but the nine month mark was like magic. Within a few weeks the pounds just fell off. At first I was excited. I never thought that it would be this easy. It was like a light switch.
Then when the weight kept coming off, I got a bit worried. I had not only lost all of my baby-weight, but more than ten pounds past that. I'm a small person, 5 ft on a good day), so this was a lot to loose. I saw my doctor and found out that my thyroid was acting up and that this was probably the reason for my tremendous weight loss. I went on medication, fully expecting to gain something back, but I didn't. It has been almost a year and the weight is staying steady.
I'm happy with my new size, my doctor says that I'm perfectly healthy, but I'm also getting a lot of snide comments from people. No, I'm not starving myself (ask my husband, I can eat like a horse), no I'm not on some crazy, horrible exercise regimen (in fact I've purposefully sweat a handful of time since my son was born), and no I'm not on some weird vitamin cleanse. Apparently, this is the new me. I'm ok with that, why not you?!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Babies Cause Addictions

*I now that I thought about writing this post quite a while ago, but I must have been a bit worried about how people would take it.
It is in my expert opinion of mommy-hood, that having a baby gives you an addictive personality. Or at least this has been my experience. Before having my son, I only drank coffee on the rare occasion that I was actually in a coffee shop. After having him, I can't go a day without a cup or two to get me going. My frig is usually stocked with creamer, but I have learned to like coffee with milk and sugar too. I was a bit unsure about it, but when the alternative was to go a day without my precious pick-me-up, I was willing to try anything. Lucky for me, it wasn't bad.
As if becoming a caffeine-aholic wasn't enough, I have also gained a step in my nightly bed-time routine. Now I have gotten a lot better about this, but there were a few months, not too long ago, where a glass of my favorite red was a must for my body to rest. Just as with coffee, I would drink a glass of wine on a special occasion- dinner out, birthdays, stressful Fridays, etc. But once I was done nursing, it was the only way I could unwind and prepare to sleep.
So far my addictions have stopped there, but I fear that it is a slippery slope. If you see me excessively shopping or (ever) see me running other than to chase me child, please stage an intervention!!

Friday, March 2, 2012


I saw this quote on Pinterest yesterday: "I want my children to have all the things that I couldn't afford; then I'll move in with them. Now I know that the author, as well as the "pinner", are being humorous, but I thought a lot about this quote throughout the day. Is this what people really want for their children? Do most parents really want to give their kids everything? I don't. I grew up with all the necessities and some comforts. We were lucky enough to go on a vacation every year, have our own bedrooms growing up, and as far as I knew, we really didn't "worry" about money monthly (everybody worries about money).
But I also didn't have a lot of things. My parents never threw us extravagant birthday parties. Cake, ice cream, and a slumber party was just fine. We didn't get everything that we wanted, in fact, the only time we really got anything other than what we needed were birthdays and other gift giving holidays. We hardly ever went out to eat, but when we did it really was exciting and a treat. My parents didn't buy any of us a car, pay for our college, or hand us money when we wanted to go out with friends. We had to earn those things.
I never thought for one second that my parents should have to pay for these things. That just wasn't how we were raised. I got a job a month after my 16th birthday and have had one ever since.
My husband and I have a wonderful house, amazing jobs that we love (thanks to the mountain of financial aid debt we have accrued), two cars that were new when we bought them, and we did it all without financial support from our parents. I think that not having their help was the best gift they could have ever given me! I know what my money and hard work is worth. I don't spend money on silly things, because I have always had to support my "wants" by myself. I learned that my debt, is my debt and that I have to work for what I want. I thank my parents for helping me see that all important life lesson.
I want my children to have what they need, and be thankful for having them. No one has had to take care of me, and I'm proud of that. I will be extremely proud, if my children can say the same when they are my age.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Opposite of ADD

I'm a teacher, and I've had my share of students who deal with ADD or ADHD. They work so much harder than the average student, because their minds can't focus on one thing for more than a couple of minutes. That must be so frustrating for them! I personally, have the opposite problem- I can't stop thinking about one thing! I come up with something (at the time, it's a priority), and then I obsess over it until it either happens, or something new and exciting comes along.
In the fall, my obsession was coming up with ways to make our backyard more exciting, in the winter it was planning for a non-existent vacation, after the holidays it was saving money and moving into a bigger home, now it's remodeling our upstairs. Now I think that all of these things are positive, make me happy to plan, keep me busy, and will potentially be wonderful for our family. My husband has very different thoughts about my ASD (Attention Surplus Disorder). It drives him crazy, that for the month or two I'm stuck on an idea, that all I can talk about is that one thing.
My husband is an extremely laid-back, thinker type and I am a quick-thinking action type. These personalities clash when my ideas are overwhelming and cost a lot (he's also a financial planner by career and in life). Someday, I'm sure I will give him a heart attack! But the way I see it is, if he would just partake in the planning or let me do one or two of my ideas without so much time to "think about it", maybe I wouldn't drive him crazy. Also, I can only assume that I would take some time to enjoy the fruits of my past labor, before I would cling to a new idea. But maybe I'm just being hopeful for the both of us.