Money, money, money, money

August 18th, 2008

So I’ve been thinking about money a lot lately because sometimes it just seems like the world is raining bills and unexpected expenses are coming at you left and right.

For example, our camera, that Ella threw once months ago, is now on it’s deathbed, just waiting to be put out of its misery. Lines and static fill the screen now, leaving you unable to know exactly what is in your shot. Not ideal.

That, and a while back we turned on our small portable DVD player we’ve had for 3-4 years to find that it simply would not turn on. And with a very loooong drive to North Carolina coming soon, we think it may save our sanity, therefore a new one is on the shopping list.

Then there’s hubby’s car, in which mysterious and important dashboard lights seem to be warning us of impending doom. So we took that to the shop just tonight.

And did I mention we’re going to North Carolina? For a week? There’s lodging and food costs, maybe we’ll get some T-shirts or go do some fun things… And it all cost money.

It seems things are looking up though. Maybe our run of bad luck is coming to an end (don’t forget in the previous post our window was shot out by our neighbors).

Tonight on our way to take hubby’s car in, the dashboard light we were concerned about was no longer on. That leads us to believe maybe it’s a sensor problem and not actually that there’s some terrible oil problem or something.

I’m also really trying harder these days to stretch a dollar. So, after perusing all the Sunday ads and looking online and at Best Buy, Target and Wal-mart, we finally decided it makes sense to get the same little Canon camera we had. It was a good camera. Besides, we’ve stocked up on batteries, battery chargers and memory cards for it. And just as I found a store that carried it I remembered to check out The site has coupons and discounts at loads of stores and sure enough the site linked me to a deal that was $25 less than store price. Perfect!

Also tonight as we were pondering the camera situation we plugged in our DVD player and found that it works with power. So either A. we didn’t recharge the battery long enough or B. our battery is just dead. Sweet! That’ll save us $100 easily!

Also, we’ve decided we would stop and stay a night in a hotel on our drive down – I don’t think 13 hours in the car with a 1-year-old is a good idea for anyone. Just as I was about to confirm my reservation, I remembered my handy ebates site again. I swear I’m not being paid by them. But I went through their site and got a slightly cheaper rate and will get a $25 giftcard to anywhere for using my Visa card. Awesome! That’s like half a tank of gas! Or a good lunch. I’ll take it.

So I’m pretty happy about my savings. And I did start to really like some sweet little red cameras by Kodak and Nikon out there, but I will be very happy when my familiar little Canon comes back into my life …

Good news and bad news

August 15th, 2008

The good news: Ella got her NINTH cousin last night: Little baby boy Jaden was born to my husband’s sister by C-section last night around 7 p.m. Baby is 6 pounds and 4 ounces and has dark hair. We are thinking about them and hope Tami is recovering well. Yay babies!

The bad news: In our house we currently reside in, we have been egged about three times, teepeed twice, caught neighbor boys throwing rocks into our yard, and had money and a cellphone come up missing. So last night when a neighbor knocked on my door to inform me that her son and another neighbor’s son shot my window with a bee bee gun, I had enough. Before I had thought, “OK, boys will be boys.” But they had crossed a line.

Upon inspection I found they also broke out a garage light, and put a very large bullet hole in our upstairs window. Where my husband works all day. Where Ella and I often sit and talk to daddy when we get home at night. I was beyond mad.

I talked to the parents and one of the young boys outside. The nonconfrontational, nice me was gone and I actually spoke my mind. I told them I was fed up with all of the vandalism. The next door neighbor denied her son had done all those things. I reminded her that once we came home and her son was IN our yard cleaning it up. Her husband believed he did it and sent him back into our yard to clean it up, saying nothing to us. Last night I told her to NEVER send her son onto our property again without our permission. I didn’t like the way they handled that situation, and again I wasn’t sure they were going to come clean about this one – luckily the other mom had the nerve to knock on my door and tell me.

Finally I asked the moms if their kids still had bee bee guns, which to me is just negligent parenting. Perhaps a country kid could get away with it, but who thinks a 12-year-old living in a subdivision should have a bee bee gun? They said they don’t. Then I got a little choked up as I reminded them all I have a one-year-old daughter that could have been hurt. Then I went in to tell my husband.

He was furious. It wasn’t even a discussion if we would call the police. He picked up the phone and called them and I’m glad he did.

The policeman asked us if we wanted the boys taken to a juvenile center. As mad as I was, I didn’t want to see the boys traumatized, just so scared they’d never do it again. The policeman assured us he’d put THE FEAR into them.

He talked to the families, and after they confessed he told them their boys would be on record for vandalism, they would be the first suspect if anything else occurred to our house. And the next time, they wouldn’t be asking us what we want to see happened to the boys. They would go to jail.

Afterward the parents and kids apologized and shook hands with Steve. I was inside, it was getting late and it was so awkward out there, I just wanted to get away from it.

I’m still mad, but I’m trying to remember 12-year-old boys do stuff like this. I just really hope they have learned their lesson. And I sure hope the parents are good on their word to cover the costs. Guess I’ll be shopping for a new window and outdoor light this weekend …

Weekend photos

August 13th, 2008

A few photos from the trip ….
The first is Ella with a new baby doll she got before we left.

Simple pleasures in Illinois

August 12th, 2008

What a good weekend. We had our second camping trip of the year at Carlyle Lake in Illinois with my husband’s cousin, her husband and their three children.

When we realized that the drive was 5 1/2 hours – for some reason, we were thinking 4 1/2 – we were a little nervous. Driving that long with a 1-year-old? Are we crazy? And for just a three-day weekend. We started having some doubts. But the whole reason behind the long drive is that it was exactly half way between their family and ours, and we really wanted to meet up with them.

Steve’s cousin, Misty, is 32, almost exactly one year older than me. Her husband works as an IT manager, not quite what my husband the Web developer does, but to me they’re still in the same techno computer geek category. So, we have a lot in common with them. Also, we learned that just like Steve, Nick has no idea where anything is in their camper. But they are both very handy at getting them set up. Misty and I do the put away and bed making. We’re not exactly breaking any gender stereotypes, but it works.

The drive wasn’t too bad. Ella was kinda on and off. She slept, but also went through some high maintenance periods, and she also just played with her toys a lot. She’s a LOUD girl though. Even when she’s just looking at a toy she’s babbling very LOUDLY. I blame my husband. He’s just a loud guy. When he’s on the phone at home I can hear him from about anywhere in the house. Also when he watches TV it’s BLARING LOUD. Perhaps he has hearing problems. Sometimes I wish I had hearing problems with those two.

We finally arrived and it was beauuutiful. We could see the huge lake, “the largest in Illinois” from everywhere. And our camper buddies had reserved two awesome sites for us in the middle of the peninsula we were on – next to bathrooms, but not anywhere close to water for safety, so just right.

We took turns cooking the meals and they often would watch Ella for us, then we’d watch their kids – who were so sweet and well behaved, and loved “baby Ella” as they referred to her. They happily played with play-doh at a picnic table for quite a while once, and a few other times they all got in one of our cars and played “road trip.” Very cute. Other times we took walks to see the lake or the boats at the marina and a playground. We also took a trip to a nearby beach one day. Just a lot of good outdoor time and a lot of good food.

And Ella was very good and I think she had a lot of fun. At one point I put her in our camper in the pack n play for a nap and suddenly I heard a “Hey mom.” Her first sentence! And I looked up and she was lifting the shade and smashing her face against the camper wall and just grinning. It was hilarious.

I learned a lot of tips from the other family too about making camping life easier. Like I need something to put a trash bag in – they had a collapsible cooler. You can never find a place to put the garbage bags. And I need drawers for my kitchen supplies! In pop-ups there is no storage above the middle of the camper because of course, it all gets collapsed down … So anyway, I have a new list of things I want to get for our next trip. It’s kinda addictive.

Oh, and I took my new shark vacuum in the car, because before we left I was sweeping out old raisins and goldfish and things out of my car and decided to just leave it in the car. It was awesome. We had a clean car for the ride home. Simple pleasures right?

Photos to come later …

    About Us

    Me. Blogger. Formerly lived carefree life of eating out, staying out late, traveling and whatever else I wanted. Now mostly chase around two kids, cook, clean and work as graphic artist.

    Wonderful web guru husband who prepared this site for me. He's even trying to help to do dishes more around the house. Good man. I met him at a party in college in 1998 and he still hasn’t gone home.

    Unbelievably cute daughter who's been running the show at our house since March of 2007.

    Our newest, precious girl who just joined us in December of 2009.