Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sweet Girl

I just love Olivia in her ballet cute.

Club Pub

Another great week of savings for me at Publix! And you better bet I handed my $5.oo off coupon to the cashier FIRST! No more forgettin' that baby!

Total before coupons/sales: $102.18

Coupons: $31.05
Sales: $42.39

Total Out of Pocket: $28.74

Total Savings: $73.44

I like to save at least as much as I spend. But if I can double what I spent on savings...EVEN BETTER! (And I wasn't too far from tripling what I spent on savings!) I spent about $0.97 per item. Even better than last week!! :-)

I got the Velveeta for $0.80! (I wish I had more coupons for that). The hummus a $1.00, cereal $0.99 each, voila frozen veggie meals $1.49 each, spicy mustard $0.54 each, tomatoes $0.30 each, chex mix $0.24 each, wheat thins $0.59, triscuits $0.60, seasoning mixes $0.44 each, all the bratwurst (Robert LOVES) were $1.71 per package! I didn't have coupons for the pretzels (just wanted them) or the ketchup (needed it but it was BOGO).

I feel very good about this purchase. Pretty sure nothing is going to be wasted. Now I'm just waiting for some rock bottom prices on meat to restock on. Gettin' a little low on ground beef. :-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Motherland

Of parks, that is. And we found it.

I had heard through the grapevine about this park with an incredible tower and HUGE slides. It sounded SO much fun and a like a much needed change of scenery for my kids. So we made the short trek to test it out. I'm still in awe how awesome it was. It puts all other parks in town to shame!! And somebody's been keeping it a secret!!!

I couldn't back up enough to capture the awesomeness of this park.

It had a merry-go-round. You don't see those too much anymore.

But the slides. Oh the slides. I mean, I was really tempted to try them out. But the sign said the cutoff age was 12. Oh well. But we sure sent the kids up to test them. Even Lillian made it down the biggest slide once! Crazy girl.

Here she is coming out the second highest slide. Yes, second highest. There is one that starts even higher than you see in the picture. (You can see it in the first pic) That one, she came out headfirst and upside down. And it didn't phase her a bit. She ran right back up the tower!!! It did make me a bit nervous, but Olivia was right there with her the whole time.

It was definitely more of an older kids park, even though it had a great 'baby' area. We will definitely be going back. And if you live in town, and want to know where it is, shoot me an email and I'll give the "secret" directions. I'm telling you, the people in this town are doing a great job of keeping it under wraps!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Daddy's Disclosures

Laid Off

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been mulling over a blog post. I’ve been somewhat at a loss for words.(In quietness and confidence is my strength…., I trust the Lord, with patience, I wait on Him.) I have had the opportunity to catch up on current events, ponder has happened to me, dream about Dreams, meet with much wiser men, seek the Lord and even do a little painting on the side. So, with that, I would like to lay out what happened, sprinkle on a little perspective and wrap it all up with what I am doing right now.

Rewind six months. I was hired by the company in the summer of 2008 by the then CFO. Being at a place in my career where I was seeking the guidance of a mentor and a faster pace, the move made sense. I was hired to oversee the Accounting Department for the purpose of helping the company become clean and efficient as they relates to the Accounting System. “What a challenge, this is right up my alley,” I thought. I love EXCELLENCE and making processes better. The business changed more in those six months than I can begin to describe. The company opened an International Office, changed IT providers, created and implemented a newer/more in-depth Financial Reporting System, moved offices from Trussville to Downtown, had a round of layoffs(some of which had no cross trained backup) and hired some heavy hitting industry experts. To that end, for the next six months I worked at least 12 hours a day, no exaggerating! I worked day and night dissecting the financials to learn the business, developing useful reports, creating and implementing new controls, etc. Though I had quite a few obstacles along the way, I felt like I was making noticeable progress.

Then, on Friday at 4:30 on January 9, 2009 I got the news that the company would no longer need my services. Now, my former self, under the circumstances, would have probably hit the roof. The incredible thing of it all was that I had a COMPLETE PEACE as I sat in that chair and lost my job. Something in the depth of my soul urged me to stay calm. I felt wrapped in God’s arms at that very moment. I must say, the Bearer of Bad News himself was more tore up than I. I asked plenty of questions, thanked him for the opportunity and felt led to minister, “my hope is not in the things of this world, I am going to be just fine”. So, 1 John 2:15 is the first verse that came to mind.

On my way home, as I spoke with Lindsay about what had happened, I told her about the peace I had. “and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart”(Philippians 4:7) came to mind. It is unmistakable - that peace. I have only had that peace a couple of times in my life. Most of them were instances where I couldn’t have sanely looked at the circumstances and functioned. Lindsay’s response strengthened me even more. No gasps, no anger or conclusions, just questions and understanding. She had a confidence about her. Lindsay is very practical and practically she replied, “so what are you going to do”. “Seek God’s will”, I replied.

I got home and began unpacking my office things and I ran across a stack of bible verse cards that were strewn all over the place. As I shuffled them together, because that’s what we OCD Accountants do, I thought to read the top card as though God has some direct line of communication with me. 1 Peter 4:12,13 jumped off of the card, “beloved, think it not strange the fiery trial which is to try you…”, confirmation that God is with me. Then 1 Peter 1:6,7 jolted my mind, “rejoice, though for a season, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations….that your faith might be found to praise and honor and glory…” All of this is awesome. My faith is being strengthened and I know that the Author and Perfector is making straight my path.

As I try to figure out the meaning or purpose behind all of this, I realize that it would do me very little to bash the company, the decision, or the owner. I have no ill feelings at all about my given circumstance. I’m not sure where I will be in the next couple of months. I do know this though. In every instance where I have grown, it was after a time of hardship/anguish. I know that in these times, I got going. I didn’t wait around or believe that I could just be idle and God would drop something in my lap. I worked hard to make sure that I was putting myself in places where His will could manifest itself. I’ve tried to make things happen by myself, but in most cases, I just worked hard. Right now, I do not feel as thought I am enduring some hardship. I am trying to figure out if my confidence supersedes any anxiety and just how long this “trial” will last. Please pray for us that it is quick, and according to His will.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pros and Cons

So Robert has been "out of a job" for 2 weeks now. I thought I'd list some of the pros and cons of him not having a job. :-)

Pro: Another adult human being around to help out around the house and with the kids! (Drive carpool, stay home during nap while I get out, etc!)

Con: Unemployed

Pro: All those "I-really-need-to-do-them-but-I-don't-have-time" jobs are getting done.

Con: Unemployed

Pro: He gets a glimpse into my world. Robert said the funniest thing the other day. He said, "You know what I've realized since being home? That I keep picking things up and putting them back in their place - over and over again. And it's driving me crazy!" Yup - it's called life with 6 busy little hands!

Con: Unemployed

Pro: He cooks! He smoked a Boston Butt all day Thursday! A recipe from his days working at a BBQ joint during college! YUM!

Con: Unemployed

Pro: We LOVE having daddy around so much! He's just so darn fun!

I have to say, at first, I was really anxious about him being around a lot more. I have my weekly routine and I wasn't sure how he was going to like it/fit into it. Not that it's a bad routine, it's just I've got it down pat. And him being here threw a monkey wrench into it a little bit. But it's been nice. We will certainly miss him when he's back in his daily grind.

Worship Olivia's worship right now. So sweet to hear their sweet voices singing abd praising, What a great start to my day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Break

....from the cold. We finally made it to the park with friends!

HUGE Club Pub

What a great week Publix is having! The ad is full of MANY good savings!!! First, I got to shop by myself. That is such a rare treat for me. And it's so much faster and efficient! And second, everything that was on sale and I had a coupon for is something our family uses almost daily! So no wasted $$!

The loot:

Total before sales/coupons: $178.11

Coupons: $31.58
Sales: $67.51

Total out of pocket: $79.01

Savings: $99.09

I broke it down per item and I paid $1.19 PER ITEM!!!!!! That's pretty good. Soup, juice, pizza, pack of paper towels! That's what it broke down to for each individual product!

After Publix, I headed on over to Wallyworld to get some more things. I even ad matched and used a few coupons. And ended up spending $1.87 per item! So I did MUCH MUCH better at Publix. But sometimes, I just plain need things that (1)aren't on sale, (2)that I haven't stocked up on, and (3) that I don't have a coupon for.

I'm really going to be playing the grocery game lately. I'm really hoping to take on another store. But I may be shooting too high. We'll see.

I want to give a shout out to Sarah at Fiddledeedee for matching up the Publix advantage buys and coupons! That helped A LOT!

I hope everyone is enjoying this WONDERFUL weather - hopefully it won't go anywhere for a while! :-)

Added this afternoon:
I just realized that I TOTALLY forgot to use one of my $5 off coupons at Publix! Makes me SO mad! Oh well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blogger's Block and Update

So I have total blogger's block. I just have nothing to write about. No interesting stories. Nothing hilarious/crazy the kids have done. Just about nothing his happening around here. Well, at least that's blog worthy.

I will give you an update on Robert. He's still stewing over a blog post. He doesn't quite know how to put it all in words. It was so 'out of the blue' there is really no explaining it.

But thank goodness he has a skill. Before all this accounting stuff, he had a very lucrative painting business. Painting as in walls, trim, doors, houses, etc. I clarify because one time, when I said "painter", they thought like an artist...who paints landscapes or portraits! Ha! Actually, painting is what got him (us) through college!!

And since his last accounting job was so busy, he had to turn down all the side painting work. But thankfully, some of those jobs were still available and he's already started and completed one full job! And has a few more lined up! (So if you need some painting, speak now or forever hold your peace!!)

He's also networking like crazy. He has meetings everyday with businessmen that he respects very much. He values their opinion greatly and a lot of them have mentored him for the past several years.

Though, the other night he said was the first night that he got nervous. I guess the reality of it is starting to sink in. But we're still at complete peace. We believe God will put us in a much better place after all of this!!

And you all know how I hate to post without pics. So here's a few of my little munchkins! They're just so darn cute, aren't they!

Robert...full force pitching to Landon. Don't worry, it's just a wiffle ball! :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Lacey!

So, as of today, I've had a dear, wonderful, loving sister for 25 years! What a crazy 25 years it has been. I mean, totally not because I was the mean, bossy, take-all-of-her-clothes-big-sister at all. I'd like to say I dug a nice clear path for her to follow that had very little life obstacles on it. I was the guinea pig that she learned from. (I've taught her a lot over the years!) She learned how NOT to get grounded every weekend in high school. I taught her how to avoid students in the high school parking lot with the suburban. And I think I taught her a thing or two about classical music. So see!? I was totally not a bad big sister! ;-)

But I also got to watch her blossom as a very talented artist. I was there when she graduated from Auburn with a pretty cool graphics design degree. I watched her fairy tale romance with the man of her dreams unfold before my eyes. Then got to be on the inner circle as she planned her wedding! And most recently, I was here when she moved back in town close to all our family!

Now, I can't wait to be there when she starts a family one day!! ;-)

Anyway, Happy Birthday Lacey! I love you - you're an awesome little sis!!

Ok, so Lacey definitely favors one of my children. I think it must be a middle child thing - she just relates to him better.... :-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Club Pub

Back at it...finally! It's been a while since I've really done my coupon thing. I guess over the holidays, I did very little big shopping. And then the coupons and sales haven't been just great in my opinion. But today, I managed to sneak in a little savings.

And since this has happened, I'm sure I'll be doing every.little.thing to help out with cash flow. (Look at how 'accounty' I sound...Robert would be so proud!) :-)

Total before coupons/sales: $53.51

coupons: $18.90
sales: $20.20

Total out of pocket: $14.41

Saved: $39.10

Not too shabby, huh. The green giant veggies are my favorite! I eat those little boxes for meals alone!! YUM! And they were $0.50 each! The lysol ended up being $0.35, mayo - $1.87 (i love the olive oil blends). Also, it would have been less, I messed up on the jelly and didn't get the kind on sale - but I still had a coupon. Oh well. I should have checked my receipt! I broke my own rule.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good Gravy!!!

I just checked my stat counter and I have shattered my "record" (if you will) for number of visitors to my blog. Holy cow...who are all you people. Actually, it doesn't matter to me who reads this. It's all more for me than you people. But I still got a little shiver down my spine when I saw how many people looked at my blog yesterday alone. I won't share numbers, because it may not be a big number to you (it's huge to me). But thanks, I guess.

Let's see....oh, I really appreciate all the really sweet comments people left yesterday. Thank you for the encouragement and support. Like I said yesterday, we're excited to see what's going on. Hopefully, Robert will have a synopsis soon. He writes so well (unlike me), and you may or may not be wanting some details....which I'm assuming he'll provide a few.

I will say that some perks of him being 'around' more (I use that loosely because he is out and about doin' his thang) is that he's able to help out a little. Dinnertime last night was seamless and went down without a hitch! Cleanup was a breeze and the kids were down with no parental units raising their voices. I mean, not like we ever raise our voices or anything. I'm just sayin'.

So I can't say this whole transition is going far. :-)

On a side note about that last picture, I had a mom yesterday ask me about baby-proofing her house for her 20 month old. I told her I really try to "house-proof" the baby not baby-proof the house (except for life/death things). Anyway, I started thinking about it and I've never really baby-proofed anything for any of my kids. Probably some with Olivia, but I didn't go around and get all those contraptions for the door handles, cabinets, toilets, etc.

So, in that picture of Lillian sitting underneath our see that little rubber band hanging on the left handle (that should be around both knobs). THAT'S how I baby-proof. And I guess it isn't working too well.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eerie Peace

I'm writing this post before Robert has had a chance to put his thoughts down on paper blog. I've asked him to, so I'm pretty sure he'll word things a heck of a lot better than me. All I can say is, we didn't see it coming. Robert getting laid off, that is.

Back up. All last week for me (month for Robert), it's like we could tell God was up to something. Didn't know what and wasn't worried too much. But I think we both sensed it in a way. It's like our hearts were being prepared. We had a few interesting events happen that started it off. And then we got the big news. No job.

The ironic part for me was I wrote this post just three days before we got the news. HOW CRAZY! Anyway, I'm not going to go into details. BUT, what I do know for sure is that everything is going to be MORE than okay. Robert's never had any problem providing for us in any kind of circumstances. God has big plans for my man, and this is one of those stepping stones on his way there.

There's been an eerie peace in this house. And a burden lifted for sure. We don't know what is around the corner, but we blindly walk in faith!

What I don't want is people feeling sorry for us. We are and will be just fine. Promise! Our faith is not in things of this world. So, get ready to see some pretty neat things happen. We're being challenged by our God in a good way. We're ready too.

What I do want is for family and friends to join us in prayer through this "adventure" we're on - cause it may get tough.

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."

1 Peter 4:12,13

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My New Project

So I recently took on a quick project that I've been wanting to do for a while. I don't know what's taken me so long, but I wish I had started sooner.

I was never one to print many pictures out before we really went digital. And then, when we finally went digital full time, we hardly ever had the prints in our hands. Well, then I realized that I really wanted them in picture albums. You know, the ones we can actually hold in our hands and look at.

So over the Christmas break, I started printing out pictures for less than 10 cents a piece. Which I thought was pretty good. (though I've heard of it going cheaper) Well, little did I realize how many pictures we had sitting out in cyberspace.


So I bought my albums and went to town making my piles on our dining room table. Piles that only I knew what they meant. That meant no friends to dinner until I could get the the table cleared.

(and this isn't even half of them!)

You ask why I didn't make digital photobooks? Well, I ran some numbers in my head and figured I could get a LOT more pictures into the binders that I wanted, and with CVS sales on pictures and coupons, I could get the prints for pretty cheap. Plus, I'm not sure if I could put the amount of pictures I want/have into one digital book. Or it would run me $100's!! I've done this for pretty cheap so far.

But I'm pretty excited to get this going. Once I'm up-to-date chronologically, I'll then print monthly and stick them in!

It's been SO much fun going back through all the pictures. Seeing all the kids when they were babies brings back so many memories. Not to mention the pictures I found in our college days. Those just might have to stay stashed away in a box. I'm not sure they're album worthy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Clothes for RAM....!?!?!

Yes, it's official. I'm coming out as a self-proclaimed computer geek. It's new to some, but I've always kinda been a computer nerd. In my "pre-Robert" days, I was the one all my friends and family went to for computer issues. Especially with PCs. I remember all my hallmates in my freshman dorm practically paying me to fix their computers. (I actually received a really nice gift from one girl!)

Anyway, then I met Robert and he took over all the computer fixin'. Bless his heart...we've had enough of them!

BUT then...dun...dun..dun....I got a Mac. And hated it. I mean, everyone I talked to LOVED them. So we caved when my PC finally gave in and went for Apple!

For a year, I swore up and down I was going to sell it. I couldn't get it organized and never knew where to put anything...files that is. Even some applications weren't compatible with my "cool" new Mac. (yeah right) But I hung in there. Through thick and thin. (We've been through a lot!!).

Finally, one day, I buckled down and was determined to figure out how to make this Mac work for me. Yes, I have put the hours in. I've ignored my kids, housework, and myself. But about a year after buying our Mac...I fell in love!!! forward to this past Christmas. My beloved Mac had gotten a little slow on me. I researched and researched how to solve this problem. External hard drive - CHECK! Deleted everything unnecessary - CHECK!! Still s....l....o.....w. And!!

Sad, I know. Internet is up there with air to me.

After much thought and research (and guidance from my computer-savvy husband), we concluded that my sweet Mac just needed a little extra RAM that is! order to get this much desired effect on my computer, listen ladies.... I traded clothes in for 2 Gigs of RAM for my computer!!! Now that is computer dedication!!! Clothes people!!!! HELLO!??! CLOTHES!!! for RAM!! make my computer faster and more responsive!

And to add to all of my "RAM excitement", I also bought (with Christmas $$) a DVI to DVI cord. Ok, so I know I'm speaking gibberish to some people, but that just makes my monitor an HD monitor. So I can see all my pretty babies in the pictures I take of them crystal clear!

So, farewell, my 512 MB of RAM. We've had some great memories together. But....I've moved on. I'm afraid you won't be badly missed. Because my 2 gigabyte's are really gettin' the job done.

And not to be outdone by my frugal side, I researched and researched how cheap I could get 1G of RAM. I found it on sale at Circuit City for $19.99 and price-matched it at Best Buy. Ok, at Best Buy, it was priced at $79.99 ....the exact same RAM!!! I saved $60!!!!!! (I think even the managers were impressed!!) Talk about spendin' my xmas $$ wisely!!! hehe (it never hurts to do your research!!!)

And just to even things out, the rest of my xmas $ went to tires. YUP, tires I don't even drive on. But it had to be done. :-)

How did you spend any extra Christmas cash??

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On My Mind...

Everyone goes through things that make them anxious or scared. It's so easy to worry about anything and everything. I guilty of this as well. When all in all, it's not in our control anyways! So why waste our time worrying...instead, I'm going to cling to a few truths. That I know will not fail me. That doesn't mean that things will go my way, but at least I know there is something better around the corner from the Lord! Our God is sovereign!

So here I go putting them in print (not too profound). This is more for me than you (whoever 'you' is). So I can come back to these whenever I want.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:4
I like this one..I know He will will keep me safe...I am His and He will carry me through anything.

"I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord is my strength and my sing. He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2
As much as I'd like to do everything on my own, I can't...and that's a good thing. :-) Because God can do it better.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philipians 4:6
It's useless to worry. It accomplishes nothing. I'm going to speak/worry less, and pray more.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:$
God knows what we want, we just have to ask him. Even if the answer is 'NO', His plan is larger (and better).

"In your distress, you called and I rescued you." Psalm 81:7
I like to look at the "rescue" in the past tense - as in He's already rescued us...I'm in His hands and not to worry.

So, in 2009, I'm planning on worrying LESS!! We could all do with a little less worry and anxiety in our lives!! :-)

He'll Do Just Fine... a husband that is. The boy is learning to clean the dishes at a young age. He cleared Robert's and my plate (and washed them in the sink) after our in house date night steak dinner. And without being asked either.

It may have had a little to do with playing in water and soap.

But still...he gets the credit. In my book anyways. :-)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Daddy's Disclosures

Looking Ahead into 2009

As we close the books on another year, it is nice to reflect on the Profits and Losses of 2008. Did the resources we used in 2008(time, money, actions and words) yield a profit? Did we overspend in certain areas and underspend in others? Are we increasing our eternal gains or our earthly gains? Are we focusing our attention in areas that are meaningful?

On January 1, 2009, to ring in the New Year, the first thing Lindsay and I did was discuss and set our 2009 household budget, went over our monthly cash flow and set goals for our finances, our family and personally. I know, I know, what a dork. It may seem a bit prude to do such a thing on a holiday but the tone it sets for the year is great! For this to be the first thing we did on the first day of a new year was awesome! I am so happy that Lindsay participated and it showed that she really cares about our financial well-being and future. My wife rocks! Finally, to keep our eyes on the future and to have goals is the only way that we will get anywhere in this life. My wife rocks!

Happy New Year.

A Few Goals

Stick to the budget
Save X$
Invest X$
Paydown Debt

Have a weekly Date Night
Take an overnight trip

Workout 3X/week
Blog regularly on Lindsay’s Blog
Read one Book per Quarter
Home earlier on workdays

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hello 2009!

We rang in the new year with friends, food, and fireworks!! It was so much fun. We had a corn hole competition that was mandatory to play in. Well, I've never played and probably lost the game for us! I need a wee bit more practice!

We safely set off lots of fun fireworks! Everyone but Lillian enjoyed it. It was so way past her bed time and she just wasn't having it. Which by the way, keeping the kids up late DOES NOT make them sleep in. They were up bright and early New Year's Day! :-)

She watched from afar!

Me, trying oh so hard.

Robert was better!

Baking brownies with Mrs. Rainer!

Fireworks make the man crazy!

I pretty much carried her around all night. Sweet baby!

Happy New Year y'all!