Archive for February, 2009

Decisions, decisions

So I’m having a difficult time the last few days.  I traveled to NC Tuesday night–just Madalyn and me.  We came back today (Thursday).  We traveled down to see my Mom who had to have some surgery today and is going to be on IV antibiotics again.  She is doing well but I sure do wish we had already moved down there so I could be there to help her out the next couple of weeks. 

Anyway–I had a lot of time to think about different things (12 hours in a car gives you lots of time to think!).  Our family has a lot of important decisions to make this year.  Here are a few that are running through my head: 

  • Where will we work when we move? 
  • What house will we buy? 
  • Will we homeschool Annagrace? 
  • Should I work night shift again or work day shift and try to find daycare for the kids?  How will that affect homeschooling?  Can we afford daycare for them both if I am only working part time?   
  • Do I want to work at the hospital or find a home health agency or an MD office or something outside of the hospital instead? 

Some of these thoughts were spurned today when my mom had to have surgery.  I didn’t get a good ‘feeling’ when we went to the hospital that I was thinking about applying at.  Am I wrong for wanting a nice ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ at my future place of employment?!  I realize this hospital is HUGE compared to the one I am coming from (we have under 300 beds, this hospital has close to 800) and there are many departments that are hiring nurses.  But I’m just not feeling it.  I think I want something smaller.  Something more personal.  A place where I know that the patients are the top priority and where people love their jobs.  Can I just bag up all of my co-w0rkers and take them with me?  (Come on–y’all all know you want to live near the beach!).

I just don’t know what to do.  And I’m having a hard time with worrying and not having faith that God will take care of us.  I have no idea as to why I feel that way.  He’s never let me down before so why do I doubt Him now?  I hate to say it—but I’m having a hard time trusting that He is working everything out for us in His timing.

I’m doubting myself and our decision to move.  Is this really what God wants us to do?  Or is it just my selfishness?  I think about all the good things that will come with moving–being closer to family, getting ourselves out of debt, me being able to work part time hours instead of full time, getting the chance to homeschool the girls.  And I ask myself if all these things clouded our decision to move.  Aaron is convinced that God wants us in Greenville.   Some days I am too.  Other days I am afraid that I am making too many decisions for myself and not allowing God to guide me. 

I need some alone time with God to think and pray about these things.  I am hoping that God will just give me some clear answers and ease my worries and my doubts.  God–can you just write it on a piece of paper the answer to all my questions and just float them down to me from Heaven? 

I guess it doesn’t work that way, does it?  I guess I need to pray for clarity and try to find those quiet times to spend with God so that I can have a chance to listen to Him when he does speak to me. 

Thanks to our friends who are praying for us.  It’s going to be a crazy year for our family!

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Free Pancakes at IHOP! Tomorrow only!!!

If you can make it to IHOP tomorrow they are having a National Pancake Day Celebration!  On February 24 from 7am to 10 pm you can get 3 free pancakes.  The only ‘catch’ is that they ask that you consider making a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network!  Wish I had time to go to IHOP tomorrow!

Blogging about blogging: My 1 Year Blogiversary!

February 14 was my one year blogiversary!  So what better to blog about than blogging?!  First lets have some cake. 

 cake Pictures, Images and Photos

I have no idea who that child is but he either just had his first birthday cake or he has massacred someone.   

 So all you bloggers out there–I have a question:

Why do you blog

Here are few reasons that I blog and/or read others’ blogs:

  • To share snippets of our fabulous life with the world.  This blog started as a means to share and journal about my journey to better stewardship of my money.  Along the way though it has turned more into a family blog.  I still blog about deals I find, ways that I save money, recycling, etc.  But I also share alot about my personal life and my family.
  • As a means to journal our lives.  I hope these posts will be on here for years to come so that my kids will be able to read them one day!
  • To share information that I have learned.  Sometimes I post about  homeschooling, or recycling/being green, or shopping at CVS.  Sometimes it’s a little controversial–I got a lot of hits when I blogged about breastfeeding.  Sometimes it is just something that really touched me or meant something to me.  It always amuses me to see how people find my blog.  On any given day I will have 1-10 search hits from people looking for information about the Outer Banks!  I posted a very long entry last summer about vacationing there and a lot of people have found it.  (I hope that it’s been helpful to them!)  I also get a lot of hits from people looking for information about “teething 3 year olds.”   I posted in September about Madalyn getting a new teeth at the age of (almost) 3 and apparently she isn’t the only kid out there to get her full set of teeth that late in life!
  • As a means of networking with others and meeting new people.  Through blogging (both through mine and through reading others) I have “met” Laura   who I share a lot in common with and who I hope one day I will meet in real life!  I have also “met” Lindsey–who I am planning to meet in real life soon since she lives in the town where I am moving to.  I have also reconnected with Alison and have gotten to ‘know’ her kids, and Melissa who I have known for a long time but don’t get to see that often! 
  • To learn about how others live.  I have picked up helpful tips from Sara about living frugally and living green.  I have  learned an awesome decorating motto from Nester (“it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”).  And I have fallen in love with Family Fun Night thanks to Heather.

I remember 5 years ago a friend at work telling me that her teenage daughter had a blog and I had never heard of them!  And here I am–a blogger since January 2006.  If you click on that link it will take you to my OLD blog–my first photography blog.  You’ll find some very embarrassing photos from when I was first learning photography!  (You will also see a terrible layout that I changed and can’t figure how to change back!).  Now you can see my newer business blog HERE.  But beware–it has been neglected for a long time.  Gonna get it back up and running when we move!  

So there ya have it.  My blog about blogging. 

I’d LOVE for you to leave me a comment about who you are and how you found my blog!  

Oh The Cars We Drive

(Photos in this post were found online unless otherwise noted!)

This is totally just for posterity’s sake.  I figure one day my kids may want to know this information.   I was just sitting here thinking about all the cars I have owned/driven over the last 16 years since I got my license. 

I got a 1990 Geo Storm for my 16th birthday.  I LOVED that car.  It had a tiny backseat and the windshield was like right in your face if you were sitting in the back.  It was an awesome car.  No CD player–I had to get one of those kits with the cassette tape thingy.  They stopped making that car and my dad said I’d always regret trading it in!  It was a nice ‘starter’ car!

I can’t find a photo of the exact color (mom has some photos somewhere of me with the car when I first got it).  But this is what it looked like except it was a seafoam green color:

Then during my junior year of college I traded it in for a blue 1997 Pontiac Sunfire.  This was right before Aaron and I got married.  My mom and dad helped me pay for half the payments on that until I was out of college.  I have maybe one photo of that car somewhere–I think I took one of Aaron outside in the snow and the car was in the background. 

Anyway–it was a pretty good car.  In January 2002–right before I had Annagrace–I was on my way to work (night shift) and was coming down the mountain and the lights all of sudden went out.  Aaron had to meet me and take me to work.  The next day we took it in to his uncle to have it looked at were told it would cost a lot of money to fix it because the entire dashboard panel would have to be removed.   We were thinking of trading it in anyway and he said we’d be better off not to spend the money in fixing it but rather to go ahead and take it in for a trade.  This is what it looked like:

 

It was a cute car.  We still owed a good bit on it when we traded it in and we ended up being “upside down” on the payments.  We needed something bigger since we had a baby on the way and although I was dead set on a 4 door vehicle we ended up with this:

We both loved our black 1998 Ford Explorer Sport!  It was still 2 doors but was easy to get in and out of.  Much roomier than what we were used to and it had automatic everything and a CD player!  Aaron still drives this vehicle.  It has it’s share of problems.  The 4 wheel drive doesn’t work anymore, the driver side door will not lock and the window won’t go up and down, the CD player skips horribly bad, the air conditioner doesn’t work and just the other day Aaron realized that the back window won’t open.  But it’s ours–free and clear.  It’s totally paid for and works for him to drive the few miles a week that he does.

So once I started working in Home Health and started driving LOTS of miles everyday, we quickly realized that the Explorer wasn’t going to cut it.  I was filling up the gas tank every other day and with gas prices going up I knew I had to get something else. 

We went back to the same dealer that our Explorer came from and traded in Aaron’s white Lumina for a gray 2001 Ford Taurus.  It was a nice family car–plenty of room, huge trunk, CD player, electric everything.  It was a good car for several years.  We had it from 2004-2007.   Again, I never took a photo of it but here is what it looked like:

 

So enter in another child, plus me still working in home health, and many trips to NC to visit my parents.  The Taurus just wasn’t cutting it.  It was starting to get very cramped.  Vacations were a nightmare because we would have all our things, the 2 kids, us and our dog in that little car!  So in November of 2007 we decided to get a mini-van.  I NEVER EVER EVER pictured myself in a mini-van.  But practically speaking it was the best decision for us.  There was no way I was going to drive an SUV to work everyday (I drive anywhere from 40-120 miles a day for work) because the cost of gas would just kill me!  So a mini-van was the next best thing.

We test drove a few other vehicles but when we, okay when I drove our 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan we knew it was the “one”.  It has automatic everything, CD AND tape player (great for listening to all my old 80’s tapes!), automatic side doors (great for the kids!), and my favorite feature–seats that fold into the floor.  All our seats will fold down flat into the floor.  It’s awesome. For vacation last year we were able to take all our luggage, cooler, beach stuff and still had room to spare.  When we bought our bikes we were able to drive right to the store and pick them up already assembled–no borrowing a truck or paying for delivery!  Others may scoff at my “mommy van” but don’t knock it ’till you try it.  It will change your life.  Okay, so maybe not CHANGE it but it will make it much easier.

Here is our baby.  And she’s going to be ours for a long time.  We financed her for 7 years.  Yes, you read that correctly.  7 years!  Here is the good part–when we sell our house we are planning to pay off most, if not all of it.  But still, we plan to keep her for a very long time.  She’s been a great vehicle.  No problems at all.  Now that I have said that the transmission will probably fall out tomorrow morning when I pull out of the driveway. 

our-mini-van

Like I always say . . . Mini-Van, Mega-Fun!!!

What was your first car?  What do you drive now?

Annagrace is SEVEN!

Today my oldest daughter celebrates her seventh birthday!  Wow–what a quick seven years this has been.  I thought I’d share a quick story about her birth and some photos from the last 7 years !

My due date with Annagrace was February 9, 2002.  Well that day came and went and I was still pregant–very pregnant–and very tired of being pregnant!  I had morning all day sickness almost everyday of my pregnancy.  Then I started itching and had to have bloodwork to check my liver functions.  Then the back pain.  Oh the back pain.  It was unbearable (and still hasn’t gone away to this day!).  So the week of my due date they wrote me off work and sent me home to wait, and wait, and wait.  I never once had a ‘fake’ contraction.  I never dilated one stinkin’ centimeter.  So there I sat on February 18–NINE DAYS OVERDUE.  I was convinced that the baby was still breech.  She had been that way 2 months earlier at an ultrasound and the doctors never checked again.  They all told me “oh I feel a butt right there” while feeling my upper belly. I KNEW that they were feeling a head.  I knew because I could feel it pushing into my ribs on a constant daily basis!

Anyway–we went in for an appointment on that Monday morning and I told Aaron to put my bags in the car because I was not returning home without a baby in my arms.  The doctor said he was going to do an ultrasound and if things were okay he’d send me for a stress test to check things out.   Well he did the ultrasound.  And there she was–still BREECH.  And not just your typical breech but frank breech–meaning her legs were sticking straight up and were around her head.  So off we went to the hospital and 2 hours later I was getting ready for surgery. 

The c-section was a breeze (compared to Madalyn’s–that’s a story for another day!) and I was back home 2 days later with my little princess.  I was so happy to have her.  I knew–even though the ultrasound techs and the doctors could never tell us for certain–that she was a girl and I started calling her princess while she was still in the womb! 

She was beautiful.  And big.  She weighed 9 pounds 6.5 ounces!  She had a head full of dark hair and dimples on both cheeks.  When she was little I was constantly getting stopped by strangers telling me how beautiful she was!

These are photos taken on or around her birthday.  Some of these are photos taken of photos (I am SO glad that digital cameras were invented!) so excuse the poor quality! 

2003:  ONE YEAR OLD

one-year-old

2004:  TWO YEARS OLD

two-years-old

2005:  THREE YEARS OLD

three-years-old

2006:  FOUR YEARS OLD

four-years-old

2007:  FIVE YEARS OLD

five-years-old

2008:  SIX YEARS OLD

six-years-old

2009:  SEVEN years old

seven-years-old

She is officially now closer to being a teenager than a baby–a fact that I DO NOT LIKE one bit! 

Today is going to be busy!  First I am going to take her to school and eat breakfast with her in the cafeteria.  Then her dad is going to go eat lunch with her.  Then I am going to take cupcakes to share with her classmates.  Tonight we are going to Aaron’s parents house to eat supper.  I’ll probably let her have  one of her presents today but the rest will have to wait until her slumber party on Friday!  She’s having 3 of her best friends over to celebrate.

Happy Birthday “baby” girl!  I love you!

Valentine’s Day 2009: Massanutten Waterpark

Last summer I took care of a young patient who happened to work up at Massanutten Resort.  We talked about the waterpark and I mentioned to him that I had not had a chance to take the girls yet.  It was on our list of things we wanted to do but we just didn’t have the money to do it.  The next time I visited him he surprised me with a pass for 4 free admissions!  We didn’t have time at all last year to go so I decided to save the tickets so we could go during the winter instead. 

On Saturday I placed the girls swimsuits in their Valentine’s goody bags underneath all their treats.  Annagrace opened it up and when I asked her why her swimsuit was in there she said, “Cause you’re trying to trick me!”  When I asked her where we might be able to go that she could use a swimsuit her eyes lit up and she said, “Are we going to the waterpark?!”  She was so excited!  Madalyn didn’t really understand other than we were going swimming!  We headed up there around 10:30 and stayed until 3:30.  It was so much fun!!!

ag-waterpark-web

 

madalyn-waterpark-web

ag-waterpark-2

This was one of Madalyn’s favorite parts of the park–the huge bucket that fills up and dumps water out every few minutes!

waterpark-bucket

And she LOVED this red slide!  It took a few times going down to work up the nerve to do it on her own but after she did I think she went up and down about 50 times!  She is a very brave little girl!  Annagrace would never have put her head under at this age but Madalyn just jumps right in like it’s nothing and even puts her head under the water without holding her nose! 

 madalyn-waterpark-2-slide

girls-on-waterpark-slide

So here are my thoughts on the Waterpark.

1)  Lots of fun.  Lots of stuff for even little kids to do.  We loved going on the floating river all together and that seemed to be very family friendly.   I even saw an infant in one of the innertubes with her mom–seriously she couldn’t have been more than 2 months old!

2)  Food is a little pricey but not too bad.  One of my co-workers said that when she goes they leave the park and go down the road to a local fast food place and then come back after lunch.  We didn’t do that because it was cold outside and none of us wanted to get all dressed and then have to come back and get back in our swimsuits afterwards.  We paid about $21 for all four of us to eat there at the park–Aaron and I shared a drink and we really didn’t get that much because we had a big breakfast.  You can bring in food so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack lunches.   

3)  If I go again, I will not wear a bathing suit with shorts bottoms.  I love my bathing suit–it’s a tankini with shorts for the bottoms.  It’s great for the beach but it was aggravating in the pools and especially on the slides because when I’d get to the bottom my shorts would be all smooshed up to the top of my thighs–not a pretty sight I’m sure!

4)  I think that it’s a little pricey especially for the winter.  During the summer all the outdoor stuff is open too but it’s the same price whether you go in the winter or the summer.  I think it should be cheaper in the winter.

5)  Locker rental is $10 and then you get $5 back when you return the key.  I think this is a little overrated unless you are like me and needed somewhere to stow your camera.  If you’re only bringing in clothes and towels then I’d just find a chair or table to plop your stuff down–lots of people seemed to do this.  The place is small enough that you can check on your things pretty often. 

6)  There were a lot of lifeguards and they all seemed very helpful and attentive. 

7)  I think they could do without selling alcohol.  Since it’s a family oriented place I think they ought to leave the alcohol sales to the restaurant upstairs.  Just my opinion!  

Overall it was a great experience!  Aaron even said that he had fun–big surprise as he is usually the bump on a log whenever we go anywhere like this–and he told me that I needed to be sure to tell my patient thank you.  I think I’m going to have a couple photos developed and have the girls draw a picture of themselves playing at the waterpark and will send that in a thank you note to him!

Mind Dump

Aaron and I have often talked about the difference in the way men and women think.   Most men when asked, “What are you thinking about?” can honestly answer, “Nothing.”  Women however–our minds are constantly thinking about something.  It can be very aggravating–especially at night when you are trying to sleep!    

Here are the thoughts going through my head at this moment on February 15, 2009.

1)  Yesterday was my one year anniversary of my Counting My Pennies blog.  I need to post an anniversary blog post this week. 

2)  Although I am ecstatic that Madalyn is potty trained I am not so ecstatic that she is making a habit of coming to our room at anywhere from 3am-5am to tell me, “I want to go pee pee.”  Or if she doesn’t wake up in time it’s, “I need some pajamas” because she has soaked hers.  I was woken to that statement last week and I told her, “Madalyn it’s 3 in the morning–you don’t need anything to eat.”  She repeated herself and Aaron heard her and said, “She’s wet–she wants more pajamas.”  In my tired stupor I thought she was asking me for peaches!  And need I mention that she ALWAYS wakes me up?  Never her dad–it’s always me.  I told Aaron we need to switch sides of the bed just to throw her off.  And you know how she wakes me up?  She quietly comes over to my side of the bed and taps me on the forehead!  I know one day this is all going to be funny–we’ll probably talk about it at her wedding.  But right now it is aggravating!   

3)  Our family loves bacon.  I wish there were more strips in a pack because my girls always end up fighting over the last peice. 

4)  I can’t believe Annagrace will be 7 years old this week.  She wants to have a slumber party and I need to get her to call her friends tonight and invite them. 

5)  I hate my skin.  And I seriously HATE acne.  I have been fighting the losing battle with it since I was 10 years old.  As if the acne wasn’t bad enough I also think I have 1, maybe 2 skin cancers on my chin.  I thought they were just aggravating pimples but they are not going away and they keep coming and going in the same spot.  In looking at some photos I realized that one of the sores has been coming and going since at least last October.  My mom had two similar spots on her face and they were basal cell carcinomas.  So I’m seeing my doctor about that in 2 weeks–I actually talked to him on the phone the other day about it.  Have I mentioned that I LOVE my doctor?  I don’t think I could ever find another as wonderful as him!  Anyway–the dermatologist clinic at UVA can not get me in until April–and that is the earliest of any doctor that I called.  Dr. S. said that if need be he can get me in with the plastic surgeon here (he is our version of Dr. 90210–he even looks a little like him!) probably within a few days of my appointment.  Again–can I say that I just love my doctor?  So more on that after my appointment!

6)  So back to the acne.  I have tried everything for it.  The dermatologist put me on Erythromycin pills (and antibiotic) and Retin A in high school and neither really worked so I stopped using them.  I have tried Clearasil, Aveeno, Mary Kay, Acne Free, Stridex, Clinique, Burt’s Bee’s…..you name it.  I came very very close to ordering some Proactiv today but I decided that I just didn’t want to use anymore chemicals on my skin.  Maybe that’s the problem?!  So I found some information about Oil Face Cleansing.  It makes total since.  Oil dissolves oil so the trick to cleaning your clogged pores is to dissolve the oil.  I went to Food Lion tonight to get Castor Oil–weird, huh?  Other than really desperate pregnant women, who uses that stuff anymore?  All I could think about was that episode of Little Rascals where they lady makes all the kids take a spoonful.  So I’ll have to let you know how my organic oil face cleansing goes.    

7)  We have another showing of the house tomorrow at 9 am.  We get excited with each showing–still waiting for an offer though!  I thought we had found the perfect house in Greenville.  I am addicted to Realtor.com and was looking through and saw a new home on the market.  3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, sunroom, finished room/studio over the garage, almost 3000 square feet and right at the upper end of our price range.  I thought it had to be too good to be true!  When I went back in to find it today they had changed the price.  It seems the person who listed it put the wrong number in and instead of the price starting with a 1 (in 100 thousands) it should have been a 2!  Dang!  I just KNEW it was too good to be true! 

8)  I am cold.  I am ready for warmer weather.  

9)  Have I mentioned how excited I am about seeing New Kids on the Block again?  And just because I can, here is the object of my 20 year obsession:   

10)  I accidentally threw my debit card away at the waterpark yesterday.  Yes, you read that right.  I placed it on the tray with our food and when Aaron dumped it–there went my card.  So here’s the good news–I JUST got a new card in the mail 3 days ago.  There was a security issue at the bank so they issued me a new card and a new pin number.  So all I had to do was activate the new card and the old one is no longer any good.  PHEW! 

Well I am off to finish cleaning the house for the showing and to grease up my face!


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