Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A WARNING to all Expectant Fathers:

NEVER, I repeat, NEVER ask or say the following to your significant other, who is pg with your child:

- "Who ate all the queso? I only got a little bit when we opened the jar three days ago!"

- "Ranch dip? On _____________ (insert any food the pg woman is eating like eggs, pancakes, peanut butter and tomato sandwich, apples...etc)

- "Wow Honey, you can already fit into my pants?"

- "I am so tired."

- "My _________ (insert any part of the human body) hurts."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today, we are thankful for...



Yes, it's true. Joy comes in the morning.
Well, it will one warm summer day in July 2010.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Of Husbands and Sleeping

A few nights ago, during S-O's bedtime routine:

S-O: Why can't I sleep in your bed with you and Daddy.
me: Because you have your bed and Daddy and I have ours.

S-O: Why do you sleep with Daddy?
me: Because he is my husband and we love each other, so we sleep together.

S-O: I love you and Daddy. Can't I sleep in ya'lls bed? I don't want to sleep by myself.
me: No. When you grow up and have your own husband, he can sleep in your bed with you.

S-O: I have an idea. When I grow up and get a husband, you can sleep in my bed with my husband and I'll sleep in your bed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bless you

Baby Rae sat snuggled on my lap eating her fresh cut apples while we waited for her big sister's dance class to finish.

Seven fellow Dance Moms sat among us.

I sneezed (into my sleeve of course).

Nobody said a word.

Baby Rae twisted her head backwards, touched my face, and said, "Bless you, Mommy."

Yes, indeed, I am blessed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Innocent Thanks

My not quite 5yr old, S-O, had a project in her PreK class in which she had to decorate a turkey feather shaped piece of construction paper with things that represent what she's thankful for.

We covered it with Dora fabric, added some sparkly jewels, tied a ribbon into a bow and taped a picture of her and her Baby Sister to the top. But the most special part of the project was her list of thanks. The following was written on her feather in a VERY specific order, according to her.

I am thankful for:

Mommy
Diego and Dora
Me
Daddy
Biscuits
My Baby Sister
The Sun
Turkey
Computers
Eyes
Crayons

I couldn't help but laugh and cry at the same time while she dictated the words I wrote. I long for such simple thanks. Then again, my list would probably look A LOT like hers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Glory Baby

Today was going to be the day we surprised our friends and family.

Today was going to be the day we posted the pic we took over the weekend of Baby Rae in S-O's 'Big Sister' shirt and waited for everyone to figure out our good news.

Today was going to be the day I added the video of my inlaws 'figuring it out' over the weekend to Facebook and our Blog.

Today was going to be the day I put last months miscarriage (or chemical pg as the medical experts call it) behind me and rejoiced that God gave us another chance at being pg.

Today was going to be THAT day.

---------------------------------------------------------------
This too shall pass.
God has a plan.
It wasn't meant to be.
Time will heal.
You were only 5weeks. Oh well then, at least you weren't _____wks (insert a number between 5 and 40)
At least you can GET pregnant.
There must have been an abnormality with the baby. Consider yourself lucky.
Maybe it was another girl and next time it will be your boy.
You shouldn't have tested so early. Why do you keep doing that to yourself?
It will happen again, have faith.
You should plant a tree, journal your experience, buy a remembrance necklace, maybe it will help heal.
Next time, don't tell everyone until you're in the second trimester, it may jinx it.
You can try again next month, or in three months, your choice.
Did you have to have a D&C?
One time, at band camp, a friend of my friend Jane, knew a girl who had a miscarriage.
Are you ok?
-------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, God has a plan. A plan bigger than anything I can dream up.
We are grateful, joyful even, despite the emotional and physical pain because we know that one day we will look back and be thankful for these experiences. Not necessarily thankful for the pain, but thankful for the growth that comes from the pain.
I plan to buy another rememberance necklace in honor of this angel baby. And, next May, our Mother's Day Tribute will have a whole new meaning.
Until then, Glory Baby, like the song by Watermark says, "Heaven will hold you before we do, but we miss you everyday."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"You're the BEST..."

S-O to John: "Daddy, you're the BEST Daddy in the WHOLE world!"

John to S-O: "Well, thank you S-O, you're the BEST Oldest Daughter in the WHOLE World!"

Me to S-O in my best throat clearing voice: "He' Hemm?"

S-O to me: "Mommy, you're the BEST Mommy in the WHOLE world!"


Yes, sometimes even The Cleaner of Vomit, Wiper of Butts, Kisser of Scrapes, Referee of Sisterly Fights, Washer of All Things Dirty, Queen Ruler, and Bedtime Tucker-Inner needs to fish for compliments.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Counting Forwards

...a continuation of Counting Backwards

She met her most loyal and responsible employee, Erika, at the mall bright and early on that crisp September day. The corridors were dark and quiet until the 'click' of her Store Manager key broke the silence.

Today was inventory day. An annual task that could either make or break a new manager of 9 months. But she was confident. It would be a good day, she thought to herself, as she lifted the gate and hurried to disarm the security system of HER jewelry store.

She was supposed to be in Indiana. The first week of December 2000, she had accepted a store in some small town south of Indianapolis. She didn't like cold weather. But, it was a way out. Out of debt. Out of her family. Out of the series of events that eventually lead to last months surgery. Out of the only town she'd ever known...Houston.

Erika opened the safe and began setting out the diamonds. Bracelets, earrings, rings. They were all stunning tokens of love waiting to be counted and recounted before they began their day of sitting pretty in the case. Their only job was to shine so brightly that any cross-eyed lover whose financial judgement was impaired would succumb to temptation and take them home for a wife, girl friend, or both.

The Manager was in charge of setting up and counting the bridal cases. These pieces of pressurized coal had a more poignant role. Their high price tag, often equal to two months salary, served a unique breed of customer. Although many a Tom, Dick, or Harry would flirt with an emerald, marquis, or princess cut for their One, it was the round stone whose perfection drew the most lure. It's precise angles of sparkle and glare cut to the heart of many young men.

Her mind wondered as she placed the rings of gold and platinum in their designated slots.

Would SHE ever be on the receiving end of one of these circular sparkles of joy?

She felt a division every time she smiled and gave her shpeel to a client: Color, Cut, and clarity. Your lover will feel like the most important person in the world. Yada Yada Yada.

She would cover all the bases. Refraining from saying what really choked her throat during a bridal sales presentation:

Why the hell can't I find a nice guy like you to love me and court me and by me a ring? Really. I want to know. Tell me. What's wrong with ME? Am I too successful? Too intimidating? Too pretty? Too strong? Ha! I'm not. I'm a college drop out. I feel smaller than the imperfection in that diamond I just sold you. I don't feel pretty. Sexy, yes. But someone like me can't be pretty. My heart is too black. Strong? HA again! I weep like a willow every night, alone, in my one bedroom studio apartment. I HATE living alone. I hated living with my parents, but I hate living alone more. I smile, but I'm dead. I convince you to spend double what you intended because I'm mad. I'm mad that you are so sweet. I'm mad that your soon-to-be wife is not as cute as me. (Thanks for showing me her picture btw). I'm mad that she has you, you have my diamond, I have your money, my 'boyfriend's' in England or Paris or France, and I'm all alone.

Today was going to be a good day. She smiled as her awaited inventory analyst, Gus, tapped lightly on the gate.

"Good Morning Ladies, are we going to have a good day?" To which she replied with a smile and a nod. Today, her store would be redeemed. Her first inventory was a disaster. A few weeks before Christmas 2000, ironically the day after her birthday, she had been offered this store. It was in shambles with an entire new staff, two of whom didn't speak English. The inventory manifest didn't match up for sh**. It would take A LOT of hard work, long hours and a new management style to fix this mess. She had to make a choice: leave with the offer in Indiana or stay and rescue the local store. She stayed. She wondered if she'd regret it; much like she'd regretted a decision she'd made 5 1/2 years earlier.

A week after high school ended, back in 1995, she registered for classes and attended student orientation at The University of Texas in Austin. She was scared to move to the new town, alone. Her fear, lack of funds, and a boy that needed rescuing convinced her to stay. She regretted it. Little did she know the decision to stay in Houston, both times, would change the entire course of her life, twice.

The counting began. In the days leading up to inventory, all of the employees participated in counting and making note of every piece of mineral and stone. They counted backwards and forwards and backwards again. Today, was a forwards day. Each case was counted, scanned, counted again, and marked with an X. Once it was matched up with a dollar amount, and cleared by Gus, they moved on to the next. Purposefully. Meticulously. Every detail calculated.

She liked counting forwards. It made her feel progressive, less stagnant. It made her feel like she was moving forward towards a goal. Today's goal was to reach an equilibrium. It would be a new beginning. It would be a day to leave the past behind and start with a clean slate.

It was just before 9 a.m. She barely noticed Gus hunched over her desk talking on the phone to his wife of thirty years, until, she heard him gasp.

"WHAT!? A what hit the what!?"

She and Erika looked at each other first and then at Gus. He looked at them both with eyes wide open and explained why his phone conversation had taken a turn. His wife had been watching Good Morning America in the background while they spoke of their grown children and dinner plans. He put her on speaker phone and she described for them, verbatim, what Dianne Sawyer reported. After several minutes of speculation, she tried to spit out the words.

"It was a terrible accident. The airplane just ran right into the...", his wife, audibly shaken, stopped and let out the most awful blood curling scream. Gus picked up the receiver, concerned for his wife's safety.

His dark brown Jewish skin turned a pale pale green as he dropped the phone for a second and hurriedly picked it back up. With his pupils dilated and a confused fear arched in his brow, he looked over at the two young ladies and said with a nervous voice, "Another plane hit the second tower."

Her mind went blank for a minute. Not really understanding the magnitude of what he already knew. It was not an accident. It was terrorism. Purposefully. Meticulously. Every detail Calculated, terrorism.

And then, the towers fell. Then, the Pentagon was hit. Then another plane, with the White House a likely target, went down in Pennsylvania.

They immediately secured the jewelry and left the store to be with their families, wondering who was next. L.A.? Miami? Houston? They DID have one of the largest ship channels in the country. Schools closed. Planes grounded, nation wide. An eerie silence filled the southern skies of an otherwise air-travel-congested town. No sound touched the clouds except for a few birds and six fighter jets that were scrambled from a nearby air base.

During the frenzy, only one person's safety came to her mind; a tall handsome young man, who to work for N.A.S.A. at the time, who, until that day, she'd referred to as a 'good friend'. (It wasn't until about three days later that she wondered about the safety of her 'boyfriend' who worked in Europe and was expected to fly back to the states any day now).

She met up with him and went to her mother's house to check on her little sisters. Once everyone was safe at home, she and her 'good friend' went back to her apartment. They spent the rest of the day by the pool, trying to forget NY and Washington.

That day, they both realized life was short. Nothing was a guarantee. Except, except for the feelings that began to brew on that cool day in September. She starred at the blackness of his pupils to avoid the captivation of his stunning green eyes, but, somewhere between the flecks of yellow and gold that seemed to burst out of the dark center, she saw something familiar. Comfortable. Something in his eyes said, "I'll never hurt you. Give me a chance. I'll love you and I'll never leave you." It was the same contentment and gravitational pull she felt from the blurry faced young man she'd seen in her surgery dreams.

Despite the devastation the day held for millions of Americans, she felt a hot feeling in her chest and she knew today was a good day. A day of equilibrium. A day that would change EVERYTHING. A day to count forwards, into the future.

.....to be continued.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Forgot

The only thing worse (as in a figure of speech and not literally) than getting where you're going 15 min early, only to realize you forgot to bring THE important item you were going to bring, and then having to turn around and go back home to get it and try to race back before you wind up being late for the event you initially were early to, would be...

IF once you got home to get THE item, you couldn't find it.

And the only thing worse than that would be, upon returning to your house and tearing it upside down looking for THE item, you check the SUV(the one you were driving) in a moment of panic and desperation, only to FIND THE item you were looking for, because it was there all along and you never really forgot it to begin with.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unromantic?

Would it be really UNromantic to ask for new 'cheap' silverware for our 7 year anniversary so the kids will stop scratching up my 'good' Mikasa silverware?

Or, should I just do the dishes more often so we don't run out of our current stock of 'cheap' silverware, thus the need to use the 'good' stuff?

Also, same question about the 'good' towels.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The WINNER is....

The WINNER of the All About Saving Cashola Month contest is..........

video

Mrs. Heather Geary!!!!

Heather saved $858.93 on grocery and drug store items during the month of August using coupons and shopping sales. Way to go Heather!!!

As The WINNER, Heather will recieve a NEW PAIR OF SCISSORS, a purse sized COUPON ORGANIZER, a POCKET CALCULATOR, a COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK, a PACK OF BIC PENS, and an AWESOME ZIPPER COUPON BINDER/ORGANIZER complete with TRADING CARD SIZE COUPON SLEEVES and DIVIDERS....JUST LIKE THE ONE I USE!!!!! AND, AT LEAST $100 IN MONEY SAVING COUPONS!!!

CONGRATULATIONS HEATHER!!!

Oh, and as a group, we saved over $3500!!! WAY TO GO, FELLOW COUPONERS!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

All About Saving Cashola Month- 36hrs and Counting

We're in the home stretch of the final 36hrs of the All About Saving Cashola Month Contest.

I've been pleasantly surprised at the amount of friends, family, and bloggers who have decided to participate in the contest. Some people have even said they don't care about winning the contest as much as they have appreciated the push into the couponing world.

I've heard story after story of people who have never, or rarely, used coupons getting out there and saving some serious cashola by shopping smarter with sales and coupons.

It makes my heart smile!

So, fellow money savers, pull out your Sunday papers (I say paperS because I KNOW you buy at least two, right?) and make your Sunday/Monday food and drug store deal runs soon because tomorrow is the last day of the contest. After tomorrow, you will have 24hrs to gather up your receipts and pull out the old push button calculator to add up your total savings.

Remember, the contest only includes food and regular drug store items bought at grocery and drug stores on sale or with coupons. For example, if you buy a computer desk, flat screen tv, garden plants or clothes on sale or with a coupon at a place like Walmart...don't include those items. I'm looking for savings on GROCERIES and REGULAR DRUG STORE ITEMS, If you have a question about a particular store or item qualifying for this contest, just ask.

Most stores print your total savings in bold at the bottom of your receipt, so add up those numbers on purchases made between August 1st and August 31st and submit the following to me, via comment to this post, comment to tomorrow's post, or via Facebook Private Message, by midnight on September 1st:

Your First and Last Name and the total $ amount saved, and (OPTIONAL) the total amount spent OOP (out of pocket) on qualifying items.

Personally, I like to add up my total amount spent OOP and total amount saved so I can see the net worth of the goods I've purchased. For example, if I spent $30 OOP at Kroger and saved $58, I like seeing on paper that I have $88 worth of goods that I purchased for only $30.

I look forward to hearing your ALL ABOUT SAVING CASHOLA MONTH total savings!!!

GOOD LUCK!

Monday, August 24, 2009

All About Saving Cashola Month---Final Week

I'm SOOOO excited about the amount of people who have decided to stop whining about their budget and get out there and save some serious cashola using coupons and shopping sales!

The All About Saving Cashola Month is going by super fast. Today marks the beginning of the FINAL WEEK of the contest. It's not too late to enter. Matter of fact, even if you don't enter the contest, you can start saving cashola with coupons TODAY.

In case you missed it on previous posts, here are a couple of web sites that help me organize and plan grocery and drug store shopping.

Coupon Mom
Southern Savers
Two Thrifty Sisters
I Heart CVS

Anyway, back to the contest. Here's a pic of what the winner will receive, shipped FREE!

This is EXACTLY like the binder I use to organize my coupons. The winner will also receive about $100 worth of coupons, clipped, organized and ready for saving some major CASHOLA!

A mid-month poll of SOME of the people who are participating, showed we, as a group, had saved over $1100!!! I know for a fact, that number has DOUBLED. And we still have another week to go!!!

I can't wait to see the end results! Keep up the GREAT work!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Counting Backwards

As she lay motionless on the operating table, watching the nurse with the red hair and comforting blue eyes tap tap tap lightly the tube of meds about to enter her left hand, her mind wondered into the future.

She saw a tall, handsome, blurry-faced young man sitting beside her on an airplane. Her heart raced towards their destination and her lips parted towards his kiss. He, without a doubt, loved and adored her more than she knew. More than she could ever have hoped.

"You'll feel a cool sensation in your arm," Nurse Red-Head interrupted.

She nodded and forced her stare to the tile ceiling. Just as her mind struggled to find the young man once again, the nurse whispered, "Now, count backwards from ten."

Various scenes flashed before her eyes.

Some from the future. Some from the past.

"Ten..." Her voice sputtered.

-A white dress.


"Nine..." She hesitated a bit.

-The handsome young man waiting at the end of the aisle with a love steady in times of fullness and emptiness.

"Eight..." Her voice more steady and firm.

-A home. Built of brick, stone, wood, or clay...it didn't really matter as long as HE was with her.

"Seven..." She said in a normal voice, but was sound still coming from her mouth? She didn't know and didn't care.

-A child. Or two. Or three. Or none. As long as she had the chance to try.


"Six..." She whispered, as the sound seemed to come from her ears.

-Her parents. All three of them. Two of which hadn't spoken civilized to one another in nearly two decades; yet together they sat in a waiting room down the hall in support of their first born daughter. And, the third, at work, trying to concentrate as 'his' (in every way that's worth noting) daughter underwent surgery. A surgery that could have so many different outcomes.


"Five..." Now, it seemed her nose was doing the whispering.

-Her Grandma C., sitting on Grandpa C's lap, eating dinner, as they had for nearly 40years prior. Prior to Grandma's passing the year before.


"Four..." Her feet? Could her feet be counting?

-A beautiful little girl with long dark hair and captivating eyes, climbing over a chain link fence.


"Three...", said her fingertips.

-The many mistakes (and by many, I mean MANY) she made in the past and a silent promise to change.

"Two...", said her tongue.

-A large tree with millions of green, yellow and red leaves, swaying back and forth.


"One..." Her eyes spoke with concern and worry.

-Many Dr.'s visits. Ultrasounds. Mammograms. Biopsies. More ultrasounds. It all came down to this moment. This Lumpectomy on her left breast.

.

.

.

She felt a thickness in her throat. She tried to breath, talk and scream all at once. Nurse Curly Black Hair held her chin and tugged on the tube that seemed to swallow her esophagus.

"Mom? Where's my Mom? I'm hungry." Was all she could think to say.

"The dr. thinks she got it all. She'll call you with the results," her Mom said with a slightly shakier voice than normal.

.

.

.

As I look back on that Monday, 8 years ago, I remember the emotional recovery. The 'not knowing' was the hardest part. My Mom had an inside hook up in Pathology who leaked the news before the dr had a chance to call.

Benign Fibro Adenoma Tumer.

BENIGN!

My scar healed quickly, but my soul took a bit longer.

I didn't deserve BENIGN. The way I was living my life, even 24hours before surgery, I didn't deserve it. I lived in a constant state of disrespect. I disrespected my body, my mind, my parents, my job, my employees, my education, my relationships. I hated life and everything in it. I trusted no one. I mean NO ONE. I not only wasn't on the right path for my life, I was in a messy jungle of wishes, wants and desires, with absolutely no direction or means to achieve my goals, short nor long term.

She was me. I was her. August 20, 2001.



Then, 22 days later, on September 11, 2001, I became 'me'. Well, at least, the beginnings of 'me'. And, only now, do I know and understand why 'I' was given the chance to live this 'benign' life.

...to be continued.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is it fair?

Assuming you have a wonderful, loving, considerate, overall fabulous husband who is also the love of your life and an AWESOME father to your babies....

Is it fair to be REALLY REALLY REALLY mad at him, for nearly 48hrs, for something he did in YOUR dream two nights ago?
.
.
.
No?...Just thought I'd ask.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

He's BACK!!!

HE is back!!!!!!!

And HE. BROUGHT. FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't keep plucking. must. make. hair appt.

I'll dye, fry, and cry before I let HIM win!

"I". DO NOT. have. gray. hair!!!!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy All About Saving Cashola Month!!!

As I posted HERE, I have declared the month of August, All About Saving Cashola Month!!!

In celebration of this festive month, and to officially kick off my money saving contest, I ran to CVS and Publix today for a quick shopping trip. Although, my marvelous husband, aka the official entertainer of our two children for the day, may disagree with my definition of "quick".

Anyhow, after shopping sales, using coupons, and redeeming store rebates and gift certificates, I wound up spending $66.90 OOP (out of pocket) on $257.84 worth of groceries, goods and school supplies. That was a daily total savings of $190.93!!!

Now, before you roll your eyes and turn to run because you can't believe I'm so pretentious to have bragged about my huge savings after just inviting you to enter a contest on saving money...you should know that I have spent the last three and a half months perfecting my shopping strategy and game plan, AND, before mid-April of this year, I thought people who seriously couponed were losers who didn't have anything better to do with their time than to sit and cut out little squares of paper.


I feel another Pass the Ketchup coming...

In THIS economy, every little bit helps. And, I've found that those little bits can REALLY add up. Looking back HERE, HERE, and HERE...I've come a long way. It's funny how "buying" a few extremely cheap and/or free things can reel you into the couponing bandwagon.

Do I have 'better things' to do? If you consider laundry 'better', than yes.

Mommying is my first priority, and budget shopping goes hand in hand with providing the best possible life for my family.

If I were to earn an hourly wage for the time I spent today clipping/sorting coupons, grocery game planning, and shopping as compared to the amount of cash I saved.... I would have made about $50/hour, and that's a pretty decent rate if you ask me.
:)Christina

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Couponing Tips, Tricks and a Contest!!!

Ok Facebookers, and blog readers, this has been a long time coming.

No matter how much money you make (or don't make) EVERYBODY could stand to save a little bit of cashola!


A few months ago, I heard several of my friends brag about ways they were saving money with coupons, but never really felt the desire to 'mess' with it.

Then, one day, ironically April 15, 2009, I decided that SAVING MONEY should become more of a priority in our household. I went to CVS with $4, a couple of coupons, and a plan.

I bought a Schick Razor ($10.99 value) and a Schick Razor Refill pack ($9.99 value). I walked out of there with a my razors and a PROFIT of $.26. LEGALLY AND BY THE BOOK! (I'll explain more about that later)

Here are some of the TIPS AND TRICKS OF COUPONING that have helped me get started:

-ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS buy AT LEAST 2 Sunday papers for the coupon circulars! (unless it's a holiday weekend, then don't buy any, as they most likely won't have coupons)

-Try to shop sales AND use coupons to maximize your savings. You can even plan your meals around what's on sale.

-Stores such as Publix, Kroger and sometimes CVS take competitor coupons AND manufacturer coupons on the same item.
EXAMPLE: If Kroger has Huggies diapers (regularly $15.99) on sale for $8.99, use an in-store Publix coupon for an additional $2 off, then use a $1.50 off manufacturer coupon (usually comes in the mail or in the Sunday paper)...You could get a pack of Huggies diapers for $5.50. That's less than the off brand diapers!
ADDITIONALLY, lets say you buy 3 of packs of diapers...you can use a Rite Aid $5 off $25 purchase (found online or in the Rite Aid ads found in their store) or Kmart $5 off $25 (sometimes found in their Sunday ad), to save even more!
EXAMPLE:
3 packs of diapers X $8.99 sale price= $26.97
-$6 (one $2 competitor coupon per item)
-$4.50 (one $1.50 manufacturer coupon per item)
-$5 ($5 off $25 competitor coupon)
= $11.47 for 3 packs of diapers!!!!!!

That's a savings of $36.50 off of the regular price!!!
If using the $5 off $25 competitor coupons (or ones like it), MAKE SURE YOU HAND THE CASHIER THAT COUPON FIRST! If you don't, your total after the other coupons won't be enough to make your subtotal $20.

-Publix and Kroger always double coupons $.50 or less. Some stores in some cities even TRIPLE coupons up to $.35. Ask your local store if and when they double/triple coupons.

-When stores like Publix and Kroger have BOGO (buy one get one free) sales. You don't have to buy 2 to get the discount. For example if an item is BOGO $2...it's $1 for each item. OH and if you have bought two papers, you'll have two coupons for each item and can use BOTH COUPONS.

-Adding to the savings of BOGO's...if an item is BOGO $2 and you have 2 $.50 coupons (that BTW double making the coupons worth $1each)...guess what...BOTH ITEMS ARE FREE!!!!! Yes, FREE! I try to stock up when I come across these deals. Because, even if I don't need or use the item, I can always hang on to it until I need it or donate it to charity.

-Most grocery store sales and promos are cyclical. If you see a great deal that ended yesterday, don't fret...it will most likely come back around in 4-6wks, if not sooner.

-Stockpile when you can. Since you're already saving a ton using coupons and buying on sale...when you come across a GREAT DEAL, take some of the cash you've saved and purchase multiples of those items. It will save you EVEN MORE in the long run.

As I said before, I started out small using coupons here and there, and now, only three months later, I've managed to SHAVE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS off our family's monthly budget for food and drugstore items. AND, I 'buy' a lot of stuff for FREE or nearly FREE, so our family now has lots of groceries and goods stockpiled. OH, and FYI, I only shop at Publix, Kroger, and CVs. I rarely even go to Walmart anymore (thank goodness because boy do I dislike that place!).

So, going back to that CVS purchase...The Schick Razors and Refills were on sale BOGO.
I had 2 $4 coupons.
10.99 Razor
+9.99 Refill
-9.99 FREE with BOGO
-$4 mfr. coupon
-$4 mfr. coupon
= $2.99 + $.24tx
= $3.23 OOP (cash Out Of Pocket)
-$3.49 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) received
=+$.26 profit

ECB's are CVS coupons earned by purchasing select items (per CVS weekly ad). ECB's are good towards your next purchase on a pretax basis and usually expire within a couple of weeks.

If you've made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS, you deserve to enter my Facebook and Blog Reader contest:

I'm declaring August the ALL ABOUT SAVING CASHOLA MONTH!

I want to know how much money you have SAVED BY SHOPPING ON SALE AND USING COUPONS at grocery and drug stores!

Most stores like Publix, Kroger and CVS put your total savings in bold print at the bottom of your receipt. So, for the month of August, add those totals up! Although saving money at any store for any item is great, for the purpose of this contest, please only include savings at grocery and drug stores for items usually purchased at those stores. For example, if you buy a computer desk, flat screen tv, garden plants or clothes on sale or with a coupon at a place like Walmart...don't include those items. I'm looking for savings on GROCERIES and REGULAR DRUG STORE ITEMS, If you have a question about a particular store or item qualifying for this contest, just ask.

The person who SAVED THE MOST MONEY will win.

As I displayed in my BOGO examples above, you don't even have to spend money to save money!!! I'll go by the honor system throughout the month to see how things are progressing, but the final winner will need to show me their receipts either in person or digitally (scanned into pdf's, photographed, or viewed via webcam).

THE PRIZE: The winner will receive a NEW PAIR OF SCISSORS, a purse sized COUPON ORGANIZER, a POCKET CALCULATOR, a NOTE PAD, a PACK OF PENS, and an AWESOME ZIPPER COUPON BINDER/ORGANIZER complete with TRADING CARD SIZE COUPON SLEEVES and DIVIDERS....JUST LIKE THE ONE I USE!!!!! I'll even fill it with AT LEAST $100 IN MONEY SAVING COUPONS and MAIL IT TO YOU FREE!!!

In THIS economy, every little bit of savings helps! So, instead of feeling sad and depressed about your bills or nose-dived 401K.....GET UP AND DO SOMETHING TO HELP YOURSELF!!!

August is ALL ABOUT SAVING CASHOLA!!!! So, get to saving money and enter my contest!!!

This contest is open to all of my Facebook friends and Blog readers.

If you are planning on participating in this contest, please comment below with your name and a rating from 1 to 10 on how much you were into coupons and shopping sales before today. (Rate from 1 being not that interested in couponing and 10 being you're a super crazy couponing money saver!)

Good Luck, and Happy All About Saving Cashola Month!!! :)Christina

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Houston, we have a potty pee'er

Yes! It's true. We officially have a 20 month old potty pee'er.

Although, it was only a few trickles and I had to sprinkle water on her tummy, turn on the bath water and blow cold air down her neck to make it happen...it happened none the less.

Panties by 2yrs old, here we come!

NOTE TO UNIVERSE: I am not bragging. So please, don't jinx me. I'm simply stating facts here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lost

I have lost my brain.

If you happen to find it, please contact me and I'll come pick it up.

That is all.

Thank you.

:)Christina

Monday, June 29, 2009

Manners

7a.m. conversation between my 4yo and 19mo. daughters:

Baby Rae: AAAAhhhCHooooo!

S-O: Bless you Rae.

Baby Rae: Thank you Sissy.

S-O: You're welcome Rae. I love you.

Baby Rae: I lub you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Root Canal

Numbing needles.
Tugging and pulling on a white capped tooth.
Scraping sounds.
Drilling down, into nerves and root.
Suction. Squirt. Suction. Squirt.
Tastes of copper pennies.
Pushing pressure.
Shape the mold.
Next week will be the fitting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Recital Gifts

Three mylar baloons, twizzlers, and a plaster fairy statue from Dollar Tree.......................$5.

Fake crystal vase, bundle of hot pink baby roses and a plastic dinosaur from Walmart......................$7.

The look on my daughters face when I told her how proud I was of her dancing at recital.....................PRICELESS.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I am, smellin like a rose

If I jammed out (alone) in my truck to STP (Stone Temple Pilots), Pearl Jam or The Beastie Boys...would that date me?

I didn't think so, but apparently the preteen (ok, so maybe she wasn't PRE) driving her Mom's Escalade who pulled up next to me at a stoplight today thought so.

Her weird facial expression and eye roll gave it away.

It read, "What-ev-a! You're so 2000-late!"

And to that, I say, "Talk to tha hand, (insert eye roll and attitudy head roll), cuz this Girl ain't listenin'!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Awesomeness

My husband, in all of his awesomeness, surprised me last night with a new laptop. He knew I've been wanting one for a while now, and seeing that my big computer crashed yesterday morning, he saw it fit to take advantage of the opportunity and earn some major Love Cha-Ching (aka love bank points)!

In order to grasp the true awesomeness of this event...you must know a bit more about him. He's VERY frugal. He rarely shops and buys on the same day, especially for expensive items...those things usually take MONTHS before he makes a decision. It took us over 6 months to decide on our last vehicle purchase! Oh, and he HATES credit cards. Generally if we can't pay cash up front for something, we wait until we can or use a cc that earns hotel points and gets paid at the end of the month!

So, when he surprised me with the laptop, I was floored. Not only for the value of the gift, but for the Love Cha-ching VALUE of the gift. He saw a desire/need in me and fulfilled that need without being asked. Cha-ching! Major love points.

It inspired me to think of ways I could do the same for him. Although my plan doesn't involve spending any cash money, I'm hoping my idea earns me some Love Cha-ching of my own! I'll let you know how it goes. ....or maybe not ;o)

Monday, June 1, 2009

My computer is very ill. I'm taking her to the computer e.r. today. Please pray for her.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Excuse YOU?!?!

Yesterday, as the kids and I crossed the drug store parking lot, I clicked my truck alarm just to make sure it was set. The following conversation ensued:

truck: HOOONK!

S-O: Excuse YOU, Truck?!?!?!

Me: What?

S-O: The Truck tooted.

Me (in my best Trucker voice): Excuse me, Little Maam.

S-O: That's ok, Truck.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cherry Chap Stick

Dear Cherry Chap Stick,
I love you.
:)Christina

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Dabin fass acoo dee poo My Cheese."

Night before last, I thought I heard my 4yo daughter cry out in the middle of the night. When I went to check on her she was sound sleep. I decided to lay down with her for a few minutes in case she was having a bad dream and woke up scared.

As I closed my eyes and began to drift off, I heard "Dabin fass acoo dee poo My Cheese," coming from my 17mo daughters room.

She was talking in her sleep. I wondered what she was dreaming about.

Fast forward to bed time tonight. As I brushed her teeth, I saw 4, yes FOUR, molars at various stages of cuttage peeping through her gums.

I immediately realized what she said the other night in her sleep.

She was cussing in baby speak! I can't say I blame her.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This year, our little family decided to honor all Mothers with a very special balloon release.

Red Balloon #1 represented Mothers of today. We honor their unconditional love and sacrifice.
My Mom, Rose, and John's Mom, Paula
This balloon flew for them, myself, and all of YOU who are Mothers.

Red Balloon #2 represented Mothers of tomorrow. They carry our hope in the future.
My daughters, S-O and Rae.
This balloon soared for them and our nieces, cousins, aunts, sisters, and friends, as well as YOURS who may become Mothers in the future.
Red Balloon #3 represented Mothers who have passed away.We will ALWAYS love and remember them!
Nine years ago, my Dad, lost his Mom, Olivia.
Four years ago, John's Dad, lost his Mom, Doris.
This balloon floated for them and YOUR beloved Mothers of the past.
The pink balloon, attached to Red Balloon #3, represented Angel Babies who have touched many hearts without ever touching a hand...babies who Jesus held before their Mom's and Dad's could.
This balloon glided towards the heavens in honor of their memory.

Happy Mother's Day 2009!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Week END

I can't wait for this week to END. It has been one thing after another. I'm emotionally, physically and financially drained. Monday can't come fast enough. Did I really say that? Yes.

Friday, May 8, 2009

You're so beautful.

J to S-O: S-O, you are SOOOO beautiful!

S-O to J: Thanks.

J to S-O: You get that from me, ya know?

S-O to J (before I had a chance to say something smart):
No, YOU get that from ME.

That's MY girl!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Stinkin' babies!

If you've been following The Skunk Saga of 2009, this will make much more sense to you.

Last night, as I lay on the cold tile, ear pressed to the air duct vent listening to hungry whining baby skunks, I couldn't hold back the moisture in my eyes. John looked at me with the I'm-a-man-so-I'm-not-even-going-to-TRY-to-figure-you-out gaze and patted my shoulder.

"It's going to be ok. We'll just wait until we don't hear the whining anymore, then we'll know."

Know. Know what? That we let living breathing creatures, albeit stinky, starve to death right before our ears?

It was our fault they didn't have their Mamma. Although, in our defense, we didn't know she had babies in there when we had her trapped, carried off into the woods, and released back into the wild.

Despite the stress these little Stinkers have caused this week, I was NOT going to listen to them, literally, die of starvation. Besides once they die, we would have no way, other than the stink, of finding them under the crawl space tarp.

So, we had The Skunk Dude come out again. He reluctantly went into the dark, moist, scary crawl space and heroically rescued the babies.




They will be donated to a local lady who rehabilitates injured or young wild animals and releases them back into their natural habitat.

...as long as it's not OUR house!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Raining and Pouring

My truck, yes the new one, started smoking as the girls and i were on the highway running errands. We are currently stranded waiting on the tow truck and a loaner from carmax. Fun times. When it rains it pours. The good news, the nearest safe place to pull over just so happened to be a fabric store. Oh darn, i better buy something since they are so nice to let us hang out here. :) PS. Seriously, it really DID rain and pour here today. Matter of fact the city just to the East of us had a tornado touch down!
UPDATE: The dealership brought us a loaner and we are safe at home. My poor Expi is now on it's way to be checked out. I'm worried about her. At least she's still under warranty.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SHE HAD BABIES!!!

UNDER OUR HOUSE!!!!!!

The Skunk Dude just confirmed, by going into the crawl space, that there are at least 2 maybe 3 skunk babies whining for their mamma in the area directly under our bedroom.

The saga continues....

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Skunk Sprayed!!!

Imagine putting a rotten onion sprinkled with garlic in your oven and leaving it there for a few weeks to ferment. Then, after it's nice and stagnant with mold juices flowing, turn on the oven.

THATS THE AROMA WAFTING THROUGH MY HOUSE AT THIS VERY MOMENT! Thanks to PePe Le Pew, the skunk that placed residence in the crawl space under our house about a week ago. Actually, she's been there longer, we just found out about her a week ago when our neighbor saw her squeeze into the 4in,x6in forklift holes under our AC unit.

We hired some Skunk Dude to set up a few traps but she didn't take the bait due to bad rain in our area. Last night, John heard some action in the crawl space and looked outside to see PePe sneaking out for a midnight snack. He ran out there, covered up the access hole with wire mesh, and pushed the freshly bated traps up against the hole. Who knew skunks liked smoked Italian sausage. She fell for it within 20 minutes. She was pissed and ran circles in the cage, but she didn't spray.

UNTIL....this morning when Skunk Dude came to pick her up. Not only did she spray, but she sprayed OUR AC UNIT!!!

I've been fighting tears all morning as I desperately try to rid my home of the poignant smell. I've scoured the internet looking for ways to battle the stench. AND, the AC hasn't even been on!

I'm just sick over this.

Apple Cider Vinegar, baking soda, dish soap. Tomato juice, Febreeze, Lysol. Coffee grounds. These are a few of my new favorite things.

I was supposed to be spending the day setting up my new couponing blog! Not, fumigating my house. Urgh! This stinks. Really REALLY stinks.

I know, I know, there are lots of worse things to worry about than a skunk smelling up your house... and in the grand scheme of life..yada yada...this too shall pass. But, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Then again, maybe I would. =;-l

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hungry Hungry Hippo

What do you do when your child has eaten a bagel with cream cheese, a banana, a bowl of whole wheat goldfish, strawberries, 6 chicken nuggets, a handful of shredded cheese, some cantelope, and is STILL hungry before noon? Did I mention she's not quite 18 months old?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm cooking dinner and cell blogging at the same time. I wonder if i can Tweet on Twitter from here too. Hmmmm.

Monday, April 27, 2009

WHAM! CHickClick.

WHAM! A door slams shut.

CHickClick. A door opens.

WHAM! The door slams shut again.
CHickClick. The door opens again.
WHAM! CHickClick! WHAM! CHickClick! WHAM!

John: "GIRLS, stop slamming the door...you're gonna scare the skunk!"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Quicky explanation of savings

Here's a quicky explanation of my savings:
I used coupons out of 2 Sunday circulars and internet coupons. The internet coupons gave me trouble at the check out counter so I doubt I'll be messing with those again. Both stores took the coupons but said they weren't supposed to. Whatever. I shopped over a 3 day period, but could have done it all at once. Like I said before, I'm learning, so as I researched and found out about certain deals I had to make subsequent trips. Next week will be different.

Since this was my first time to do this, I had to spend some cash up front. But over time, as I accumulate Extra Bucks (which spend like cash towards your subtotal), I'll be able to walk in every week and spent LITERALLY pennies like some of the better Couponers do!!!

I've attached a spreadsheet with details of my transactions from the receipts. Although I swear I saved over $186, my receipts said I saved $162.48. Hmmm. Not sure about that. *EDIT* I couldn't figure out how to attach a spreadsheet to a blog post. Anybody know how to do this? If you're desperately interested in seeing it before I figure out how to link it up, shoot me an email or comment and I'll email you the spreadsheet.

http://www.couponmom.com/ really helped let me know where to find my coupons! I'm doing the hanging file method, sort of. Each week I'll pull the Sunday circular and write the date in bold print on the front and file it in the monthly folder. I'll use the Grocery Deals by State section of the couponmom site, search for the store I plan on shopping, and check out their deals. The chart that pulls up will tell you, in code, where to find the coupon (which circular by date),coupon value, sale price, final price and % saved. So I don't have to spend my entire Sunday cutting, organizing and trying to match up what's on sale where. It's all done for you in the charts. All I have to do is mark the deals I want and it prints the detail sheet. I take the sheet and pull/clip ONLY THE COUPONS I NEED for that shopping trip according to what's on sale where.

If it seems confusing, the instructions on how to understand the chart are in the Grocery Deals by State section. I'm telling you, this section has it all and makes it so easy to clip coupons!

Eventually, I'm going to attempt Coupon Mom's "Cut your grocery bill in half" method. We shall see.

Hope this helps. Comment if you have questions or you'd like me to send you some MONEY SAVING VIBE DUST!!! Now go, shop. Find your FREE stuff!

I'm learning

If you add this to Tuesday's shopping ...



I bought $185.43 worth of goodies for......................

.

.

.

a whopping $30.92!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've got a super busy day/weekend ahead, but if I have time, I'll update with the specifics on what coupons were used.

This is the first time I've EVER bought anything from CVS! I'm hooked.

I missed out on a few good deals because I didn't have the old Sunday circular coupons. But I've learned my lesson...I'll never throw away a coupon again (unless it's expired)!

I learned about shopping with coupons from http://www.couponmom.com/. I find out about CVS deals at http://www.iheartcvs.com/. Everything I bought is legit and on the up and up. I only have one CVS card and I receive coupons from them via email. Although, my CVS gave me flack about using the Internet coupons. They took them THIS time, but I think the savings still would have been great without them.

I also enjoy the money saving tips on http://www.moneysavingdivas.com/ and http://www.jane4girls800dollarannualbudget.com/.

Couponing isn't for everyone. But the way I see it, if this SAHM thing is my J.O.B., I may as well do everything I can to increase my 'salary.' KWIM?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guess how much...


...all of these goodies cost me?


Hint #1 Everything was on sale AND had a coupon.
Hint #2 Everything was bought at CVS.
Hint #3 The total regular price value...$96.24

So how much do you think I paid? Stay tuned and tomorrow I'll reveal the total and a detailed explaination of the savings. P.S. yes, it's all legal and nothing was stolen. hehehehe :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Unworthy

This weekend, we went to TN to visit family. After loading up the truck with DVD player, toys, kids and suitcases (and going back in about 5 times for items we forgot) we were ready to hit the road.

"Where's the map quest I printed out and put on your purse so we wouldn't forget it?," John said.

Oops. I must have left it inside. I was NOT opening the garage door, unlocking the house, turning off the alarm, turning on the alarm, and closing the garage door for a 6th time.

Besides, it would be a great opportunity to try out the navigation feature on the new (to us) SUV.

First step: program in a home address.
Second step: make sure the correct regional navigation CD was loaded
Third step: program in a destination address.

Seems easy enough. So we get on the road and follow HER directions.

(in a soft feminine voice) "Proceed on HWY123 for 6.2miles. Be prepared to turn left onto HWY 456"

Nice. We drive for 6.2 miles then turn left. Great.

(soft voice again) "Proceed on HWY456 for 10.8 miles. Prepare to merge onto HWY 789.

Although we were sans the map quest printout, we've driven this route before and know we shouldn't take HWY 789. So we continue straight and planned to hit HWY101. We pass the exit. HER exit.

(soft voice turns a bit louder and harsher) "You have chosen a path that is not recognized by this system. Please make a legal u-turn and proceed on the designated path."

I hit the 'ignore this route' button to shut HER up. A few 100 yards farther, the screen goes blank. Is it broken? Did we mess up the 'path' thus lose the information that had been stored? Will we have to program it again? Darn HER if she ruins our time table by forcing us to stop for directions. I should have just went inside and gotten the map quest directions when I had the chance. Why was I so lazy? I'll never use this stupid navigation system again!!!SHE doesn't know where we're at now. We're lost!

Then, as if nothing had happened, she says, "Proceed on HWY 101 for 37.5 mi."

The system had reconfigured the path to our destination based on the choice we made to ignore the last route. Cool. No information was lost.

We drove on and followed her directions for about two hours. Then, we saw a familiar exit. John seemed to recall taking that road before as a short cut. Only, SHE didn't acknowledge the cut through. We called his parents, who were planning to meet up with us, and his Dad advised us to take the short cut...not knowing we had the navigation telling us differently. John, confused and not wanting to make a wrong decision, pulled over and asked for directions from a hairy, smelly, dude at a gas station. The dude confirmed HER directions.

John chuckled and said, "We should have listened to HER, she knows where we're going and where we've been."

SHE knew where we were going and where we had been. SHE knew the correct path for us. And when we doubted, questioned and even detoured the road to our destination, she reprogrammed and gracefully continued to guide us.

Sound familiar?

I am so humbled by the grace God has given my family. I'm on my knees confessing for doubting HIS ability to make my path straight. I am in AWE and wonder at how HE can aline the stars and direct my life when I make decisions or have moments that cloud up my future. HE has NEVER failed to open my eyes and shine light on HIS path...even when I can't understand or find reason for HIS direction.

HE gathers up the fruit of my worry, fear and anxiety about the future. Then HE squeezes it like a juicer and serves it's nectar in a crystal glass on a silver platter, saying, "Take. Drink. This is my blood." HE gathers up the messes I've made and the mistakes that linger, and bakes them into a luscious apple pie that is The Word and says, "Take. Eat. This is my body." HE soaps up my hands with the Dawn of Resurrection and guides me to The Water that cleanses my soul of imperfection. HE cloaks me with the fabrics of his spirit and protects every footprint my sandals dig.

Recently, our family was faced with some major financial decisions, and we were feeling uncertain about which path to take. As always, God provided for our needs in ways we never could have expected, and he made it VERY clear as to which direction we should take...HIS direction. He always gives us just enough, according to HIS standard. For that, I am grateful and extremely humbled at the blessings he sees fit for our family. I can't help but feel unworthy.
How super cool and techno savy am I? I'm texting in a post from my cell phone! I'd say thats pretty freakin cool of me, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ode to Chips

Maybe it's your salty shell and the ripples on your back,
Or maybe it's your crunchiness that causes his attack.

Could it be your flavored sprinkles of onion, cheese and ranch,
Or might it be the aftertaste that puts him in a trance.

Maybe it's your half filled bag that makes him feel like King,
Holding you so tightly with one palm makes freedom ring.

It may just be a midlife thing like fast cars, trucks, or boats,
But mine is ever satisfied with you and the remote.

He begs me to go shopping when you go 10 for $10,
And every sale we come across makes him want to holler.

"We can never have to many !" his voice trailing our driveway,
As I speed off to the grocer, I'd buy zero if it was my way.

But for him I'll load the basket with Ruffles, Lays and Pringles,
Because I know it fills his love bank and gives him heart tingles.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pass the Ketchup PART 2

...because I need it for the words I'm eating. I thought I was full after Part 1.

"I'll never ______ while going to the bathroom" (insert a multitasking event such as 'hold a crying baby', 'talk on the phone', 'brush my teeth', 'eat a sandwich', 'put on makeup', 'flat iron my hair' etc.

"My baby will be potty trained by 18months"

"I nursed my children, so they have built up immunities and won't get sick as much as other kids."

"I won't put MY kids in MMO, MDO, or any other form of childcare...I want to spend every waking minute nourishing their minds with my love and attention."

"Home made clothes is for people who can't afford to buy at stores."

"Who cares if Target is more expensive...I'll never shop at Walmart again!"

Friday, March 27, 2009

The FABULOUS Jones!

When we lived in Houston, I had the pleasure of knowing The Jones, Rebecca and Chris, through our church. When I first met them, they had just moved to Houston for Chris' job and Rebecca had become a SAHM to their son Cameron. Chris and Rebecca immediately got involved with Life Group at church and soon after jumped at the chance to help out with the children's ministry. Their servant hearts and willingness to help others make them both very FABULOUS!

Rebecca always has a smile on her face and a skip in her step. She's eager to make friends and keeps them once their hers. Her super craftiness is astonishing! From her tie dye shirts and baby quilts to embroidered baskets and polo shirts, her love for all things creative is matched only by her intense love for her family. She's got a hilarious personality that infects those around her. You only have to hang out with her for a few minutes before she'll have you rolling about something funny or ironic that her kids have done. She claims to have struggled fitting into her role as a SAHM, but to see her in action makes you think motherhood and taking care of children is what she was born to do. Rebecca is a leader and a planner, especially when it comes to helping others. She has dreams about food, has walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty and read an entire book in one day. Those are just a few of the things I love about Rebecca and that make her FABULOUS!

Chris also always has a smile on his face. He's often seen cutting up with the guys or playing around with the kids, making everybody laugh. Although I've spent more time with Rebecca than Chris, he definitely left an impression on me in that time. When I, one of the preschool bible class coordinators at the time, was in desperate need of teachers one quarter and had asked every known mother, grandmother, teenager etc in the church and nobody was available, Chris and Brad volunteered...VOLUNTEERED...to co-teach the older 4yo class. They volunteered again, again, and again. For that, Chris Jones, I, and the other coordinators, loved you and I think YOU ARE FABULOUS!!!

I asked Rebecca to share a few more FABULOUS things about Chris. Here's what she had to say:

"Chris is unwavering in his priorities in life, even when others may challenge him. He knows that God is always first, then family, friends, and work is last. Too often people in this world get that confused.

He has worked so hard to make it easy for me to stay at home, even though that wasn't our original plan in the grand scheme of things. We have both had to give up some stuff, but we've gained some awesome kids.

I have been amazed at his devotion and love for his friends. I've seen him drop everything to help a friend in need or just cause (especially if that means he gets to play a sport or game of some sort). It is something he's consistently done since college.

He has a great patience with our children, which I do not always have. I think some of it comes because he can be a kid again with the kids. Playing ball, Star Wars, and all those things.

We now have beautiful laminate wood floors where there was once carpet in our house, which Chris installed himself. In between installing the floor, he built a really cool Lego table for Cameron. He is always getting creative and building nifty stuff for us - bookshelf, night stands, etc.

He gets stuff out of the attic for me, off the top of the fridge, and most importantly my Christmas dishes down from the top shelf of the cabinets. I know that sounds silly, but that height difference puts me at a disadvantage that I just can't get that stuff easily. It's so nice to have someone around to reach those things for me.

Chris knows how much I miss some aspects of my life that I gave up for various reasons. Things like theatre and art. He tries to find ways to bring those back to my life. Like taking me to the theatre to see shows and to the art museum to see new exhibits. Even if I can't do the things I love myself, I can enjoy them other ways.

So when I married Chris, I married his family. I know that's sort of a cliche, but it's entirely true. Not only did Chris accept me and love me, his family has done the same. It's really interesting to see the dynamics of the Jones clan at work. They are loud, boisterous, and unapologetic about who they are. I've learned so much from all of them, and so much about myself. I am who I am because of my family and because of Chris' family. It's nice to have such a large group to love."

Thank you Jones', for being so FABULOUS!

I JUST LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hello and Goodbye.

Well, Hello there little fella. What are you doing all by yourself way up there? You look lost. You SO obviously do not belong with the others here? What happened to you? You must have fallen into bleach, or peroxide, or white paint. You should be MUCH darker. You shouldn't be glistening in the sunlight, waving around, with pride, a banner that reads "AGE" in bold print. You shouldn't be right on top, in front of everyone else, screaming at me with your tiny bullhorn, "Look at me. You are old. I'm HERE for you." You must have mistaken me for someone my senior, MUCH my senior. Because I DO NOT have gray hair! You. Don't. Belong. Here. Goodbye. and Good Riddens....pluck.

Friday, March 20, 2009

HE'S HERE. HE'S HERE. HE'S HERE!

The mailman. Little did he, a virtual stranger, know the utter joy and happiness he was bringing to my life on this day. This fine, cool, crisp, BEAUTIFUL day.



Although I, personally, have not met him, I just want to take a minute to say, Mr. Postman, thank you. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for your dedication to opening (and sometimes) closing my mailbox on a daily basis. Thank you for so graciously exiting the warmth of your atypical mail car, the one that looks like a regular SUV except for the flip flopped driver/passenger seats and the little flashing light on it's hood, to HAND deliver an oversized package to my stoop steps. Your gentleness and careful placement of the taped up cube of cardboard is unmatched. Thank you for honoring the "Please Do NOT Ring the Bell, Baby Sleeping" sign on our door trim. Although, on this day, at this time, even with an actual baby sleeping in her crib, it would have been ok to ring my bell. You see, I've been waiting for you. Not for you, specifically, but for the gifts you bring. Although technically, not a gift per definition, today's delivery....



My heart is beating out of it's cave. All the blood in my body floats anxiously behind my eyes as the strips of sticky tape fly off the box. Flap one, open. Flap two, open. I felt like Charlie on Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory, about to win the golden ticket.

(Insert angelic music with trumpets and flutes pitched high)




Here's a small sample of the luscious fabrics I recently acquired.

What shall become of them you ask? Dresses? Ruffled Pants? A-line dresses with bloomers? Baby gifts? Applique tee's with matching flip skirts? Curtains? Throw Pillows? Yes. Yes. and Yes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DoUH!

I got caught today. That didn't take long. I tried to play dumb, waiting to see if he REALLY knew. He did. What, does he have a PI? How did he find out so quickly?

I confessed. Sort of.

It felt good to get it off my chest. Although, I don't regret doing IT.

I can't take it back. All sales final, unless he's willing to pay a restocking fee, which he's not.

Darn Dave Ramsey and your stupid CASH ONLY LIFESTYLE rules! Darn you and your little envelopes. Darn the ccard company that has an online notification system, of which I was ney privy to, that *DINGS* DH's email EVERY. FREAKIN. TIME. THERE'S A PURCHASE!!!

~~~Hark, there's a knock at the door. Could it be here already? Pitter Patter, Flutter Flatter goes my heart.~~~
Nope, it was just the stinkin' exterminator dude checking for termites.

Anyway, I apologized, shed a tear, and promised never to adulter-ize my budget again. Yada, yada, yada.

Good thing only two of the yummy fabric orders went through today. Tomorrow is another day. I'll deal with that then.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I gave in to my desires!

Today, I gave in. I couldn't hold back. The burning desire in my heart made my mind and body disconnect. My fingertips tingled as they danced over the keys that unlocked a window to the forbidden fruit. Everything in my soul screamed, "NO, don't do it. He'll never forgive you!" But my hand slapped the guilt right off my face and typed away. The quantities rose, ENTER was pressed. There's no turning back once you start the process. One note of confirmation, a nod that says yes. Again and again. yes. Yes. YES!!!


I did it.

21 yards of suculant woven threads cut to measure just for me. ALL FOR ME!!!. Colors of Expresso, Lime, and Tempered Pink. Prints referenced Lacework, Full Moon, and Wall Flower. Fresh Poppies, Deco, and Polka, the list goes on and on. Amy Butler, Micheal Miller, and Kitty, just the sound of their names causes giddy. The sins continued throughout the day, over and over again, finally resting with patterns of Tops with Bloomers and even a little Portabellopixie.

I'm not ashamed of my love affair with fabric.
I don't deny the financial betrayal.
But, sometimes, it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
Besides, the ccard is paid with fruits of my labor, some of which are soon to be on Etsy. Maybe. If I'm willing to part with my forbidden apples.


Until then, my dearest ménage à trois of fabric stores, just know this, as I lay in his arms tonight, I'll be thinking of YOU!

Oops, gotta go, the hubby's home...must hide receipts. Minimize screens. He'll never know. SHHHhhhhh! It's our little secret. XOXOXO

Monday, March 9, 2009

Honoring Life

In honor of the life and with respect for the struggles that my friends, The Wims, faced over the past few years, I made an announcement on my photography blog today that I thought was important enough to post here too:

I am offering FREE Family Portrait Sessions to individuals diagnosed with, or who are Survivors of, Cancer. The session includes one photo shoot either on location, in their home or in my home studio. The family will also receive a custom package of their favorite prints.

At this time, I'm only able to provide these services to families in the Huntsville, AL area and LIMITEDLY to the Houston, TX area, but in time I hope to be able to expand my availability. For more information, please email me at christina@christinajphotography.com.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Brad and Jenny are clients and dear friends of mine from Houston.

This letter was drafted as a means to give back to the family of a man who left an incredible footprint on the hearts of many. We will miss you Brad!

Dear Family and Friends,

Brad Wims courageously fought the battle against the cancer that caused such pain and damage in his body for over two years. Each day was a victory and a blessing of grace for we are never promised tomorrow. Even as the doctors’ prognosis was grim, Brad persevered with God as his strength. He was an incredible example of faithfulness and trust in God even in the most trying of circumstances. Many people have expressed a desire to help ease the situation for Jenny, Zeke and Kaelyn. We find ourselves asking, “What more can I do in addition to prayer?”

Although many would think that Brad’s primary burden was his physical health, those that know him well say that more than anything else, his main concern centered on his wife and children. Brad felt responsible for the provision of their financial, spiritual and emotional needs. Since Brad faced an uncertain future, the financial strain weighed heavy on his mind. Because of this, we have decided to set up a fund to collect donations from anyone who would like to make sure his family is taken care of regardless of their situation.

Our goal is to raise $120,000 to be used toward this effort. This would allow Jenny to pay off the mortgage of their house and provide much needed income during this difficult time. The elders of the A&M Church of Christ in College Station and the Southeast Church of Christ in Friendswood (Brad and Jenny’s home church) are graciously providing direction, encouragement and the necessary arrangements to make the collection for these funds convenient. Because of the blessings God showers down upon all of us, we believe this is an attainable goal. We invite you to reflect on the abundant blessings you have received from God and join others in the grace of giving to this much needed cause.

There are two ways to donate:

1. Send a check to either of the churches listed below. Please write “Wims Family” on the memo line to designate your funds and help with bookkeeping.

A&M Church of Christ
2475 Earl Rudder Frwy. S.
College Station, TX 77845

Southeast Church of Christ
2400 W. Bay Area Blvd.
Friendswood, TX 77546

2. You can pay online through the Southeast Church of Christ website. Select the Online Giving tab. Complete the information to create a login. Select Contribution–Special Fund in the Give To field, indicate the amount of your gift, type in “Wims Family” in the Optional Memo field, and press the Add button. You will be prompted to press the Give button. You will advance to the payment information screen where you will need to complete the information to give through Visa, MasterCard, or ACH (electronic check).

Please share this letter with anyone else you know who would want to be a part of this special project. Ten dollars, one hundred dollars, one thousand dollars, or a penny a week...whatever you can give, know that it will bring relief in a time when it matters so much!

Much love and excitement for how God will change us all through this project,
Friends and Family of Faith
Paige (Davidson) Robinson
Aggies for Christ Assistant

For further information, contact the A&M Church of Christ office: (979) 693-0400 or email amcofc@gmail.com.

Monday, March 2, 2009

:(...

S-O: Mommy, why are you crying?

me: I'm crying because Mr. Brad went to heaven today to be with Jesus.

S-O: But Mommy, don't cry. Jesus isn't crying. He's happy.

me: You're right, Jesus IS happy.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Playing at The White House

S-O: Mommy, where does Barak Obama live?

me: The White House. You know, he has two little girls.

S-O: What are the little girls names?

me: Sasha and Melia.

S-O: I want to go to the White House and play with Sasha and Melia.

me: Ok, let me see what I can do.

So, anybody know how I might go about setting up a playdate with the President of the United States children? (doesn't hurt to ask)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Strong-Willed Child Cliff Notes

A friend of mine recently posted this as her status on Face Book:

____ is looking for the Cliff notes for "Parenting the Strong-Willed Child". I need help NOW!


My comment:
I read that book. Here's my solution: give the SWChild some M&M's, turn on Noggin/DisneyChannel/aDVD movie, pour yourself a glass of wine, go to your bedroom, shut the door, go into your bathroom, shut the door, go into your closet, shut the door, drink the wine and breath....cuz you're screwed. No book will help you. Welcome to the club.

I SOOOOO should write my OWN book. It would be titled
The Strong-Willed Mommy...how having children gave my Mom sweet REVENGE.

Can I getta Woot Woo!?!

Why YES, I can.

Last night I went out for a MUCH needed GNO with some of my friends.

During dinner, I made a solo visit to the ladies room.

Anxious to get back to my table of quirky friends I quickly cut through the bar section of the restaurant and then... it happened.

"Woot Woo!, Darn girl, you fine!"

So, can a girl in her thirties (ok, a Mama of two, not so much girl but low thirties) out on the town(ok, so we weren't 'out-on-the-town', we were just at a local steak house) still (still? as though I have to ask) turn heads (ok, so maybe he didn't say the 'darn girl you fine' part, but the 'Woot woo' really DID happen)?

I. THINK. SO.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2 AM REDEMPTION.

Last night, as S-O snuck into bed with John and I at 2 a.m., she snuggled up close and hugged my neck.

"Mommy, I love you. You smell good."

She's been redeemed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ewwwww, GROSS!

Watching American Idol has become a family ritual in our household. S-O especially loves watching all the "silly goose" singers.

In one of last weeks episodes, they showed an AI wannabe in line waiting for his audition. He was a rather large fellow who thought it funny to lift his shirt and show his Man Breasts and hairy chest to all of America while sticking out his bright pink Gene Simmons tongue.

I shrieked, "Ewwww, Gross!"

S-O must have made a mental note of that moment.

Two days later, she walked into my bedroom while I was changing out of my pj's. I had just lifted my shirt over my head (and might I note, NOT sticking out my tongue) when she shrieked.

"Ewwwwww, GROSS!!!!!!!" and ran out of the room.

How's that for motivation to join a gym.

A word of advice. Hypothetically.

If, HYPOTHETICALLY, you had an illness that was cured with a VERY PAINFUL dose of penicillin in your RIGHT buttock cheek, and your husband happened to return from a week long business trip the same day said illness was cured, and despite your craving desire to make out with your husband you waited the advised 48hours to lock lips with him so he would not contract said illness, and once the probationary period was over and you did give in to your lustful desires to the point that your mind was no longer on rational thinking.........
.
.
DO NOT...I REPEAT...DO NOT...NO WAY NO HOW...FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY AND CHOCOLATE....PLEASE HEED MY WARNING AND DO NOT....DON'T...CAUTION...BEWARE....DO NOT...
.
.
.
Do not...lean to the side, RIGHT butt cheek in the air, and say (even jokingly, please I warn you) to your husband, "I've been a bad girl, I need a spanking."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 interesting things about me

Someone sent me this on facebook and I thought this was a more appropriate place to post my list since less people will see it here than on fb. These are in no particular order


1. My husband and I started "officially" dating on 9/11/01.


2. The "O" in S-O's name is my late grandmothers name. I think about her every day and wish I had spent more time with her as an adult.


3. One of the best gifts my husband has EVER given me is a heated blanket. He knows how much I HATE being cold and thought about buying me one for several months until he found the right one. He brought it home on a random Tuesday night. There's more to the story, but that's all you need to know.

4. I am not as confident as I seem.


5. I weigh about 25lbs more than I'd like to.


6. My nose is really big and I've felt that way since I was 12years old and a boy (who shall remain nameless) dumped me because of it.


7. I used to be a REALLY bitchy person with few "true" friends. Now, I'm just occasionally bitchy, have lots of friends, and even have a few "true" ones.

8. I wear my socks inside out because I don't like to feel sock lint on my toes.

9. I'm the messiest person with undiagnosed OCD that I've ever met.

10. I'm a germaphobe.

11. Flying, or planning trips that involve flying, gives me anxiety attacks (see #10)

12. I'm always late, which makes me anxious, which drives my kids and husband crazy everytime we are getting ready to go somewhere.

13. I have a dry, and sometimes twisted, sense of humor.

14. There are few people who truely "get" me.

15. I internalize other people's problems to the point that I try and solve them just to give my mind a rest.

16. Before I had kids, if I witnessed a car wreck (or even came up on one) I would ALWAYS stop and sit with accident victims until the ambulance got there. I wonder if I should have been a paramedic.

17. I hate cleaning the kitchen, but when I do, the dishes have to be put in the dishwasher in a certain way and there is no room for alteration.

18. Parasailing in Mexico was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Swimming with the sea turtles, sting rays, and fish the size of my leg ranks up there too. Oh yeah, and the birth of my daughters.

19. I love fabric.

20. Several of my paintings have spent time in local galleries back in Houston.

21. I'm amazed by my daughters on a daily basis.

22. I secretly wish to dress goth.

23. I won a dance contest at a bowling alley when i was 21.

24. When I worked at an urban radio station in Houston, I did the voice over intro for the evening DJ. My script: "T-Gray, it's 7 o'clock...tear it up, Baby."

25. I see my photography work as God using me to connect people's experiences with their memories.

2 Large Domino's pizzas for $3

We ordered pizza last night. Carry out. They said it would be ready in 15min.
I live about 10min. away. So I left to pick them up immediately after calling.
There were 2 men paying for 3 pizzas in line ahead of me.
They looked as though they just got off of work from either a construction site, dirt pit, or some other really grimey line of business.

Grimey Guy #1 (emptying out his pocket): Well, I thought I had a few more dollars in this pocket.

Grimey Guy#2 (handing guy #1 some change): This is all I've got man. We're going to have to leave one of these behind (as he patted the 3 pizza boxes in front of him).

Grimey Guy #1 (looking at the young cashier girl): Sorry Miss, but we only have enough for the 2 pizzas. How much do we lack?

Young Cashier Girl: $3.85

Grimey Guy #2: OH, WAIT, I just found another dollar (as he handed the young cashier girl another dollar.

Grimey Guy #1: Well, I guess I could....Miss could you put the $2.85 on my credit card.

OK. Stop right there.

I couldn't stand it. I pulled out $3 (which was a miracle in itself since I NEVER carry cash) and handed it to Grimey Guy #1 and said, "Don't put $3 on your credit card."

He thanked me several times. I told him he was welcome. That was that.

When I got to the front of the line Young Cashier Girl informed me that they lost my order and it would be another 15 min. before it was ready. I thought of my hungry kids and husband at home and said ok, I'd wait.

While I was waiting I realized they didn't give me receipt when I had handed them my debit card earlier. I went up to the desk and told Young Cashier Girl that I think they forgot to give me a receipt. Just then, she handed me my pizzas and said...

"You don't have a receipt because I didn't charge you. They are FREE since you had to wait."

I almost cried. I couldn't believe they gave me my pizzas for FREE just because I had to wait an extra 8 minutes!!! That was so freakin sweet of her!!!

Thus, my story of 2 Large pizzas for $3.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Potty Training a 1 year old.

A little over a year ago, when we had first moved here, I met a Mom whose 18 month old was fully potty trained, and had been for several months. It was so amazing to see this little baby, who could not yet speak in sentences, tell her mother that she needed to potty. While I changed my then 3year old's dirty pull up followed by my then 3 month old's dirty diaper, I shed a small tear and wondered what life would be like NOT having to buy/tote/change diapers.

I took a vow to myself that day. I would begin potty training as soon as Baby Rae could walk. She's walking now. Let the training begin!

She's done great so far. She sits on the big potty instead of her baby potty (probably an influence of big sister), and when it's time to be done, she tears off a square and rubs her belly. She even knows where to put it and how to flush. Now, we wait. Wait for what's to come. Hopefully it won't take 2 and a half more years!

Our goal....18 months! We shall see.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My letter to The Economy

Dear Economy,

Thank you. Thank you for reminding us to get 'back to the basics' of our finances. Thank you for slapping some sense into some of us by forcing us to finally cut up those little plastic rectangles in our wallets that have become the source of angst to so many Americans. Thank you for stealing half of our savings and our children's college fund, because it is going to make our blessings that much sweeter when you get back to normal and finally pay us back, big time. Thank you for increasing the prices of food, gas, toilet paper, diapers, and other necessities, because you've made me think twice about what I consider a "necessity." Thank you for basically pulling the rug out from under millions of retired Americans, because hopefully, it will open the eyes of my generation and make us realize that putting money in a 401K isn't enough. Thank you for helping me prioritize my life and focus on the things that are most important. And, guess what?......it's NOT YOU!

Deepest Regards,
:)Christina

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm not perfect.

I heard a song on Noggin the other day. Here's the song paraphrased:

I'm not perfect. No I'm Not. I'm not perfect, but I'm all that I've got.
I do my very best. I do my very best. I do my very best each day.
I do my very best. I do my very best. I do my very best each day.
No, I'm not perfect..And you know, I like it that way.

Now, THERE is a song to live by.

I'm so tired of people and personal blogs out there who totally portray themselves as perfect.
The perfect Mommy. The perfect Family. The perfect House. The perfect Life.

Get REAL people!

I think there are so many of us "normal" people out there that struggle enough on a daily basis to be a good wife, Mom, house keeper, etc etc etc that it makes it that much more difficult when we see other people IRL (in real life) or on blogs that are (or seem) so perfect.

So, if you're reading this and you have a seemingly perfect life or blog...do us all a favor.... show us some of the "REAL" you. Many of you are perfectionists and think IF you portray yourself as such, you will in fact be perfect and in some way, maybe others will look up to or maybe even envy you a bit (which I guess feeds your ego and fills the void that is so obviously in your heart somewhere). Maybe you even think that this perfection will in some way connect you to others. When in reality, you are separating yourself from those you try to impress. You are in a different universe. Separate and alone from the rest of us.

The first step is realizing you have a problem.

Repeat after me: "I'm not perfect. No I'm not. I'm not perfect, but I'm all that I've got. I'll do my very best each day. I'm not perfect, and I'll like it that way....and other's will too."

I wear my imperfections on my sleeve. Most that know me, REALLY know me, know this about me. I'm not afraid to show you that I'm not perfect....and I like it that way.

Be real. Be true. Be u. Do this, and you'll be FINE in '09!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Rowenta





I got a new Rowenta, a fancy steam iron with retractable cord, today. I was so excited. Not necessarily to iron, but to toss out my old iron. You see, I once had a cat named Jake. Jake liked to eat cords. He "ate" my iron cord several times (along with about 10 (not exaggerating) cell phone charger cords, but I'll save that one for another post). And although my rather safety conscience husband told me not to...I used that hole-y corded iron for another 3 years. Until now.


Funny thing is...the only items I iron on a regular basis are the seams on the stuff I sew. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I ironed something from our closet. The standing joke among my friends is that Christina "irons" ALL of her husband's clothes...


"iron"=wash, dry, leave in dryer for 3 days, then in a basket by the bed for another 2-4 days, walk beside basket several times a day, finally decide to hang clothes up, realize they are too wrinkled for "normal" wear, squirt down item with water bottle until it's dripping wet, hope the water pulls out wrinkles, realize it didn't pull out wrinkles...rewash.


ENTER STAGE LEFT: My Rowenta. May she enjoy the "seams" of her new iron life...free from golf shirts, kaki's, and the occasional sunday dress shirt. Here's to you, Row! Hipp hip Horray! Hipp Hip Horray! Hipp Hip Horray!


Now, if you'll excuse me, Row would like to show off her Auto Steam feature on some Amy Butler I just so happened to find for HALF PRICE on the Grab table at my favorite fabric store last month. Bless you Row.