Sunday, June 2, 2013

Softball Friends

What we didn't realize when we started softball was that we would make such great friends.  We made many friends but one family in particular has become close friends of ours over the last couple of months.  They have two kids, one girl that is 8 yrs old, and one boy that is six yrs old.  They also have one of their nieces with them a large part of the time and she is almost 10 yrs old.  All our kids get along very well.  Their daughter is also a red head and looks like she is the twin of Celestial.  Our kids have begun spending every free minute they can together.  I even had the three of them at church with us today.  It was quite the sight as we took up almost two full rows with all of us.  My twins have even become very close with each of them and ask for them when they are not around.  It has become the type of friendship that I expect will continue even after we move away and those types of friendships are few and far between.  I am so glad we decided to participate in softball this year for so many reasons.  It was well worth it and I look forward to the girls continuing this fall in fall softball.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Update

I haven't had time to post on here in forever but I am hoping to use Sundays to do so more often, with the help of the kids.  We'll see how that goes.

The kids have been growing like crazy, as kids do.  Time seems to fly fast as each day passes.  Ben is coming to the end of his Army time so we are all looking forward to moving back to Idaho (or that area) to be back with my family.  I am very stressed about getting the house ready to sell or rent but hoping I can get everything done in time.  We are hoping to be out there before Christmas.

I am finishing up with school and am hoping to graduate by October so that should give us time to finish packing up.  Once we are settled, I am hoping to get our home business built up so that hopefully at some point Ben can work with me from home and we can travel with the kids.

Ben recently finished coaching Celestial's basketball team and enjoyed it much more than he expected he would.  We looked forward to not coaching when we signed the girls up for softball and then ended up coaching anyway, but we enjoy it.  The girls we coach are 7-8 yrs old and so much fun.  Celestial has become completely addicted to sports and especially softball, which she whines about if she doesn't get to practice every single day.  Eden enjoys it but isn't quite so much obsessed with it.  Luci is just starting and seems to really enjoy it as well.  She just finished soccer and also begged to go every day.

Israel has never been much of a sports kid.  He is more into Yu-gi-oh cards and anything relating to the computer.  I wouldn't be surprised if he followed in my steps someday.  The twins are growing like crazy and causing all sorts of trouble together but we can't help but laugh.  They are still in that cute stage.  They are best friends and hate to be seperated.  They haven't seen snow yet so I am looking forward to moving out west and seeing their faces the first time they see it as I still remember the shock from Luci the first time she saw snow.  I will never forget that little face.

Hopefully you all enjoy this little update.  I will try to keep them coming more often.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

CPS, CFS, DHR or whatever your state calls it

No matter what your state calls it's version of Child Protective Services, they all have the same basic reason for existing.  They exist to protect the children.  From what?  Child abuse and neglect.  Not from life.  Children are not going to have a perfect life no matter how you look at it.  So what am I getting at?

Families are there for a reason.  We have kids and we raise them the best we can (most of us anyway).  Life isn't perfect but we try to protect our kids, love our kids, and teach our kids.  We try to prepare them the best we can for the life ahead of them.  Kids need that love and security.  They can actually have long term "issues" when they are suddenly ripped away from the things they know and love.  Are there times that is a good thing?  Yes!  If a child is being abuse or neglected, GET THEM OUT OF THERE!  However, what if their life just isn't the way you think it should be?

I have had more friends that have had CPS called on them than ones that haven't.  Are any of them abusing their kids or neglecting them?  Not a single one that I know of.  So why was CPS called?  Because their lives weren't perfect or because they were going through a tough time.  Examples, one family was in the process of moving.  The family is larger than ours and the mother was overdue with another baby.  They had no help in moving.  CPS was called because there was *GASP* laundry on the floor.  Example 2, CPS was called because the mom was loosing "too much weight" and the kids caught the flu.  That's right, the kids got sick.  Horrible, right?  #3, a baby was crawling around on the porch and slipped.  The mom picked her up and went inside.  CPS was called and when asked what happened to the baby the answer was, "I don't know.  The mom picked her up and brought her inside."  So, a baby isn't allowed to crawl around outside and fall.  #4, kids 1 kept hitting kid 2.  Mom kept telling him to stop and after she had had enough, she spanked him.  CPS was called for her "beating" her child.  Oh, so she should just let him keep on hitting the other kid.  That makes sense.

There are many more stories than I can possibly recount on one blog post, but you get the point.  Why is it that we seem to think that if ANYTHING happens in a family that we don't agree with, we just call CPS.  Would breaking up a family really make anything better for the child(ren) involved?  In most cases, all it does is make a stressful time much worse on the family and leave lasting scars on the child.  If you see something you think needs to be changed, offer to help.  See if there is something you can do.  Often the parent just needs a hand up or someone to be there for them.  And realize that life isn't perfect and not everyone is going to parent the way you would.  Each family and child is different and that is the way it is supposed to be.  So stop trying to tear families apart.  If you really want to make a difference, be there for someone when they need you and unless there is abuse or neglect (in which case, please step in) then don't call CPS.  You are really doing more harm than good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Supermom syndrome

We all know what it is. We think we need to keep the house perfectly clean, make everything from scratch, raise happy, well behaved kids who love us and ALWAYS respect their elders, keep up with our blog and journal, volunteer at church, and maybe even go to school or homeschool our kids our selves. If we do homeschool, our kids MUST be far ahead of the dreaded public school kids and be able to keep house as well as we do. What is it? Supermom Syndrome.

I must confess, I suffer from Supermom Syndrome really bad. My house is NEVER clean enough, I constantly worry that my kids aren't learning as much as they could, I expect too much of my kids, and I worry that I won't get a 4.0 in school this time. The list goes on and on. Some people say I just need to be easier on myself and my kids. That may be true, but it isn't that simple. How can you be easier when everyone around you seems to criticize everything you do. Your autistic kid has a temper tantrum over something seemingly small, you must be a horrible mom that spoils him to death. Your kids spent time playing instead of doing school cause they need a break? You need to be turned in to the authorities for not schooling your kids enough. Your house is a mess cause you caught the flu along with your six kids and your husband is gone for an extended time? You must need me to call CPS and report you (no, I have not had them come here yet but to most my friends so I worry constantly). The list goes on and on.

So my question is, why do we judge each other so much? Why can't we offer a helping hand instead of thinking the worst about someone or worse, calling them in? Why can't we just assume a parent is doing what they feel is best for their family and each child and not just spoiling them or being lazy. Why can't we just try to be there for each other more and quit leaving people that could really use a friend in a desperate lonely state?

I see it all around me. Some are ready to give up, others want to hide out from the world, most just need someone to be there for them in their time of need. What happened to truly loving and supporting one another?

So next time you are tempted to judge someone or simply to tell them to lighten up and not be so hard on themselves, think about offering a hand or better yet, some true friendship instead. You both will end up better off in the end if you do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ok, so it has been FOREVER again since I wrote anything on here, but I will try to start again. I don't have a whole lot of time, but I will try to update today and hopefully will get to do more of this in the future.

Starting with Ben, nothing much has changed. Things are normal at work. We have made the decision to leave the army after this enlistment in about two and a half years. Not 100% sure what we will do after that other than we will be returning to Idaho. We have some ideas but it will be a while before we know for sure as it is so far off.

As for me, I just completed another semester in school and with a 4.0! Way excited about that. I am planning on a degree in Web design and interactive media. I am having so much fun with it and never would have guessed it just a few months/years ago.

Eden is doing ok. She has been sick for forever so we are trying to get her better. Hopefully it won't be much longer. She is being very mature and is quite the help around here even when she is sick.

Israel is his normal, handful self. He is starting to notice how he is a little different than others and asking questions. It is hard sometimes to know what to say to him. But he is a happy little guy that really loves his siblings.

Celestial is still our easiest one. I know you aren't supposed to label the kids, but she really is. She has been testing her boundaries lately but even her hard days are so much easier than the other kids easy days.

Luci is set on growing up. She is constantly telling us how she is growing up and her teeth are falling out. If we tell her she won't loose them until she is around 7 she tells us she just turned 7 so we just let it be lol.

Cumorah is happy just being who she is. She has no interest in learning to walk and is happy pretty much all the time. Always seems to have a smile on her face. She loves to jabber to everyone and really seems to know what she is saying.

Elijah is walking all over the place. He is very weary of new circumstances and people and will stare new faces down. It is a lot tougher to get a smile out of him if you aren't close family. The twins love to play together and jabber together. When we put them down for naps they stand up and start playing and talking to eachother until they get tired. It is so cute. I really love having twins.

So, that has brought us up to speed I think. Hope you are all doing well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The art of couponing and extra savings!

Just before Ben came back from Iraq we knew we needed to tighten our budget. Soldiers get extra money while deployed that we would no longer be getting when he got back and we have two more mouths to feed. Just before he got back, our ward at church had a lady come for what we call enrichment night. She taught us all she knows about couponing. Just after that, a friend of mine , Chrissy started doing similar things and taught me what she knows. A little more I learned threw trial and error. So far, I have cut our monthly budget for food and other like items in half. Still have a ways to go but it is a start. I have been asked to share what I know like the others have with me so here is what I have learned so far so maybe some of you can benefit as I have.

One of the things that helped me in the beginning was being told not to expect to save more than $10-$20 the first time. A little more the next and so on. It only took me three months of this to cut our budget in half but everyone will be different. It is really easy to give up in the beginning but it you stick it through, you will be glad you did. Since I did this, I was able to score things like two packs of diapers that normally would have been $20 for $1.44. I bought some stuff that normally would have been about $7 for $.89. Savings like that make it worth it. We figure I make about $50-$100/hr by doing this. Much better money than a part-time job would pay and I do it my way on my time.


In the beginning it takes more time than future months cause you will be doing stuff you don't have to in the future and you will get to know this stuff so that you can do it quicker. Lets start with coupons.

Initially I bought a little wallet thing for coupons but it only lasted me a month before I outgrew it and moved into a binder. I just grabbed an old one sitting around the house and filled it with those see-through plastic protective pages used for things like scrapbooking or protecting documents, etc. I put lables on the side that said things like Frozen foods, cereal, etc. for each category I knew I would be using. I left a couple of pages in between each lable to seperate into smaller categories or to seperate manufactoring coupons from the company coupons (more on that later).

The best places to get coupons in my opinion is online, in the stores, and in Sundays paper. I do not regularly get the paper and my paper does not have an option for Sunday only delivery so I have to buy a paper each Sunday. If it has what I want, sometimes I will buy three or four. I usually get a minimum of atleast $10 worth of coupons in each paper that I USE so it is worth the $1 is costs to buy it.

Online there are so many great sites like:
www.coupons.com
www.couponmap.com
www.couponmom.com
www.ebates.com
www.flit.com
www.smartsource.com
www.redplum.com
www.restaurants.com
These are in no particular order tho coupons.com is the one I use most. Also, if there is one particular thing you need to buy like lets say you need chocolate chips then check the company website for coupons. Places like bettycrocker.com nestles.com etc. will usually have coupons on them.

For coupons, my theory is that the more the better. It is better to have extra you won't use than to find out you need one you didn't think you would need and not have it. I usually pick one day a week to really do most of my stuff. Once a week or so I will go to coupons.com and print pretty much everything I buy and put it into my binder. I will also get the ones from the paper and anything I need that I don't have one for I will do a search or go to the company site. That is probably the most time consuming part other than the actual shopping.

My next step is to head to sites like www.publix.com and www.iheartpublix.com . Publix is the store I use cause it is closest to my house and has the best deals. Places like Kroger, Smiths, and Albertsons are others you may have. The store adds will become some of your best friends.

Each store has a different coupon policy so check the ones near you. I called the two closest to me and actually go to the farthest of the two cause the one closest to me does not take target coupons but the other one does and www.target.com has some awesome coupons! My store has a policy that it will take one manufacturers coupons per item, and one company (publix or another competetor like target, walgreens, or winn dixie). You can get the company coupons online or in the front of the store and sometimes even in the paper. Any coupon $.50 or less they will double. They tend to have a ton of Buy one get one sales. On those sales, they are really 50% off as you don't have to buy two. They just ring up at half the price. Not all stores work this way tho. Also, keep an eye out for the coupons on items or in those little booklets things are flashy things on the shelves that have them. Even if you don't plan on using it any time soon, they usually are good for months so pick up a few anyway but do be respectful and leave some for others. If you aren't going to use a coupon before it expires, either find a place that takes expired coupons or leave one near that item for someone else to use. I go through my coupon binder about once a month to check for any expired coupons.

On a BOGO, you can still use two coupons from each area and end up getting things for free or darn close to free. For example, lets say soup is one for BOGO. It usually costs $2.50 but with the BOGO it is $1.25. Then you add a company coupon for .75 off and then a manufacturer for .50 off (which can then be doubled at my store) and you end up getting it free! I just got a whole bunch of butter the other day for free by doing this. Sounds hard to figure out but you know what makes this so freakin easy? Sites like www.iheartpublix.com and www.grocerysmarts.com do the work for you. If you go to iheartpublix then each week she lists the deals at publix and where to get the coupons. She has done most the work for you. All you do it print the coupons or cut them out and put them with the others. Because my store takes both Manufacturers and Company coupons I will paperclip them together so I have easy access to both at the same time.

When you go to http://www.grocerysmarts.com you click on your state and a store (i.e. CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target) and she lists the sales, how good of a sale it is, and where to get coupons for it. These are the two main sites I use but there is also www.southernsaves.com www.athriftmom.com and a million more. There are different ones for different areas of the country. Grocerysmarts is where I plan my trips to Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens. I didn't use to shop at these but it turns out they pay you to shop in their stores. They have these cards that are like the typical store cards but when you use them, they put money back onto the card. You can end up making money shopping there. Example, lets say CVS has a sale on French Fried Onions. They maybe are on for $3 instead of $5. Then you use a coupon for another dollar off. CVS then may say if you buy $10 worth, we will give you $5 back on your card. The FFO started off at $10 for 2. Between the sale and the coupon you paid $4. Then you got $5 back on your card for buying $10 worth. So, you made $1 buy buying FFO. Cool huh? If you plan it just right, it works. Even if it is something I don't generally use, if I am gonna make money to buy it, I buy it. Even if it is just a great deal, I will stock up. Rule of thumb is things go on sale every three months. So like the other day I saw a great sale of laundry detergent at CVS. I ended up paying something like $1 per cantainer I bought intead of the normal $9. So I bought three months worth to last me until their next sale and I only spent what you normally would have on one! Walgreens doesn't tend to be quite as nice with theirs as the others, but I still check it. I try to hit one or two of these three stores a week and it only takes me a minute to do it cause they are so small so it is worth it to me.

I do the same thing with stocking up with things I get at Publix as long as it is not perishable. By the end of a couple of months of doing this, you will see a huge difference in what you pay. I try to plan my meals around the sales so I don't have to pay full price for things but if it does come to that, I weigh the pros/cons of either paying a little extra at Publix or getting sale stuff their and hitting Walmart later for things that maybe are not on sale anywhere. But I have not had to hit Walmart in a while so that isn't often.

So, I hope this is helpful. Sounds very mindboggling but it actually isn't once you get into it and is well worth the time for the money. I will probably be adding info into the comments if I think of things I forgot. Feel welcome to do the same.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crazy week this week





It was a very stressful, crazy week but fun at the same time. On Thursday we went to Fort Benning. They were having a HUGE celebration for 3ID for their homecoming now that the guys are all home. It was so much fun! There was free everything. Free food (hot dogs, bbq, pizza, ice cream, Popsicles, etc), a ton of free bounce houses for the kids and even some for adults, bungee jumping things, football game (CSU against 3ID), prize drawings, crafts, face painting, even Old Navy was giving out free shirts. We really enjoyed our time there as a family and didn't make it through any where near all the stuff before the night was up. (The digi camera I used there is missing so pics will come later.)

Friday afternoon we went to the girls Girl Scouts Halloween party. Our family did a jungle theme so all the kids were jungle animals. They got to dress up and while we were getting ready Luci got into the halloween makeup and was covered. It was actually pretty cute but that is what is on her face in the pics.














Friday night we carved pumpkins. The kids drew the faces and we cut them out how they wanted them.



































Saturday we went to our church Halloween party. We had a chili cookoff and stories for the kids. We then did trunk or treat in the parking lot and headed home. Saturday night we did the usual trick or treating in the neighborhood.







It was a good thing we headed out when we did cause even tho I had bought 5 bags of candy, we were out before we even left.






We get a HUGE amount of kids here. Never had many at any other place we have lived.




And for those of you from Alabama you will understand what I mean when I didn't think about it when I put Luci in an elephant costume. It seemed every house we went and on the street people would yell "Roll Tide!" But the kids had fun and actually all went to bed pretty easily considering (other than Cumorah of course lol). Hope you all had a great Halloween too.