Thursday, August 16

School

The boys started school today.  All of us were ready for school to start - me most of all.  Kaitlyn is asleep, and I've got a sink full of dishes to attend to.  But I have the freedom to sit here and type a blog post without having to worry about any children for the moment.  It's wonderful.

School registration here is much different than it was in southern Utah. The cost to register my boys for school in Utah? Zero dollars. Nothing. In our school district here in Iowa, there is an $80.00 book fee per child.  Non-refundable.  School supplies required in Utah?  Nothing.  They suggest kleenex and a box of crackers, but no pencils, no paper, no crayons, nothing like that.  Here in Iowa? Second grade had a list of 24 items they were required to bring, including things like Crayola Twistables, shoes specifically for PE, and Clorox wipes.  Fourth grade's list only had 19 items.  I spent over $70.00 just on school supplies.  And that doesn't count school clothes or shoes, or backpacks or lunchboxes.  My budget is crying right now.

But, the schools here are very highly rated.  And we only live a four minute walk away from the elementary school.  But, they miss their Utah friends.  And so do I.



Friday, July 20

Tipped

(I wasn't going to tell this story, since the business involved did their very best to resolve the problem, but I figured someone reading this might be able to learn from our mistake.)

A couple of weeks ago, we took our family to a local bowling alley.  The boys have only been bowling once or twice in their lives, and Kaitlyn had never been.  This place has a summer special going on, where on weekdays from 11-2 you can bowl for free, up to two games, and only pay for the price of renting shoes.  We had so much fun, helping Kaitlyn push a ball down the lane and watching our boys choose which ball to use every time (so many colors! so many choices!).  Sadly, I didn't break 100.  (But hey, considering the fact that I only bowl approximately once every five years, I'm impressed that I didn't get any gutter balls.)

We took our shoes back to the counter when we were finished, and Christian used his credit card to pay the grand total of $15.78 (for five pairs of shoes - not bad for over two hours of bowling).  They have a pizza place attached to the alley, so the credit card slip has a place for a tip, but since we didn't eat any food, Christian didn't include a tip.  He signed at the bottom of the slip and we went home happy.

A few days later, I was paying Christian's credit card bill, when I happened to notice that the most recent transaction was for the bowling alley, but the amount was for $21.00 even.  I was a bit confused, and wondered whether Christian had left a tip. When he came home that evening, I asked him about it, and he assured me that he had only signed the slip for the exact amount of $15.78. The next morning, he called and spoke to the manager, who assured him it must have been some kind of mistake, and that she would be happy to mail us a $20 gift card to rectify the mistake.  (In addition to crediting our credit card $6.00.) Apparently, after she got off the phone with Christian, she did a little research and found out that our credit card slip had the extra $5.22 added to it after we left the establishment.  She called Christian back, apologizing profusely, telling him that behavior like that is not tolerated there, and that she would be sending our family an extra-special fun pack.  So, a few days ago we went back and bowled on the side of the alley with the nice couches for free, and we got two large pizzas with everything on them for free, and as much as we wanted to drink, and then they gave us each a $7.00 credit card/token thingy to play in the arcade.  And yes, we tipped the woman who brought us our food - in cash.

So, lesson learned - if you are not going to pay a tip on your credit card slip, don't leave that line blank.

Monday, July 2

Too Much

After the ups come the downs, right?  Sigh. (See last post for the "up.")

So, I don't know about you, but it seems to me that sometimes something "bad" happens (as I perceive it), and I feel like I am hanging on to life (sometimes just barely), but then something else really small happens that just topples me over the edge into insanity.

Something happened this week, something really upsetting, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it.  I'm definitely on edge, and having a difficult time eating (and at times barely functioning).  But then, the library emailed me to let me know that a dvd is overdue that I KNOW I took back to the library, and it's like WHOOP!  Insanity.  Either give me the crappy thing that happened or the dvd the library can't find, but not both.  That's too much to handle.

(P.S. I really am going to be okay.  I just recognize this weird quirk in my personality - of letting one little thing feel like it's driving me over the edge.  But then time goes on, and the course of life makes little changes, and I feel all right once again.)

Friday, June 22

Fear Revisited

Fear.

Fear has been the driving force behind most, if not all, of the major decisions in my life.  When I graduated high school, I went to the university in my hometown because I was scared to move away from home.  I was terrified to get married, but I knew it was what I was supposed to do (and Christian helped me feel a little less scared).  I was so petrified of actually delivering a baby (the pain of childbirth) that I had never ONCE thought of actually being a mom, or of actually having a child, until after I gave birth.  My mind is really, really good at creating giant, thick, sky-high brick walls that stop me in my tracks - and prevent me from moving forward, from progressing.

Cue life bomb.  Once the life bomb occurred, I had to learn how to look at things differently.  Everything.  Life, really.  I started to realize that fear held my soul captive.  I have been working diligently ever since then to face the fears that inevitably rear their ugly head.  The first major instance of facing my fears was when I decided to give birth to Kaitlyn without an epidural.  (Here's a post I wrote about my fear of delivering her without medication, and here's her birth story, where I actually did it.)  And I felt empowered.  I felt amazing.  I was beginning to learn that I could stare my fears in the face and defy them.

There is another thing I have been wanting to try for years and years (honestly, at least seven years) but have been too afraid to try.  Again, afraid of the pain.  Men who are reading this, and Dad in particular, may want to shield their eyes and skip over the next sentence.  I have been wanting to get a brazilian bikini wax.  But for seven years I have been too afraid to actually try it.  Once again, here I am letting fear of pain run my life.  Well, last week I decided NO MORE.  I called, scheduled an appointment for 15 minutes later, and did it.  And once again, I am so proud of myself.  I can do hard things.

A few nights ago, I realized other fears that have been affecting (I almost typed "infecting," and I think that's an appropriate word too) my life - fear of arguing, and especially fear of anger.  This one is severe, and it's not as easy to spot as something like pain is, so it might be more difficult to accomplish.  But I'm ready and willing to face it head-on. 

Damn life bomb.  It's one of the hardest things that has ever happened in my life.  And also, it's one of the very best things that has ever happened in my life.

Friday, June 1

Copydog

Christian and I were sitting on the living room couch when Boo walked over to the window and did this:
He stayed like this for a minute, then casually got back down on four legs and walked away. (He has never done this before and he hasn't done it since.)

Moments later, Kaitlyn walked over to the window and copied him:

I think these two are going to be best friends.

Friday, May 18

Food, Glorious Food

A few nights ago, I told Christian that I was making buttermilk pancakes for dinner, the same pancakes I had made three weeks earlier that our entire family loved, and that after eating Christian proclaimed, "We will never purchase Krusteaz AGAIN."  Then I mentioned that I couldn't remember where I had found the recipe and that I actually didn't know if I could find it again.  And yes, I say that ALL THE TIME.  I have recipes in a recipe box.  I have a pile of papers I have been printing out and saving since the dawn of time.  I have cookbooks.  I have tiny newspaper clippings that fall out of my pile every time I take it out of the closet.  And I'm sick of it!  I decided I want to put all of my favorite recipes in one place, where they are easy to find, all one size, and I can print it out later to give my children when they get married.  So, I'm starting another blog.  (Insert groan.)

Actually, I'm not starting another one.  If you remember, about three years ago, I started a blog where I listed what I was making for dinner each night, in the hopes of collecting enough things that when the time came where I didn't know what to make, I could pull out the blog and find something that caught my fancy.  And yeah, I was faithful to that blog for about two months.  Then I stopped abruptly, and shortly after made it private.  Now it's public again, and you are welcome to go over and see if you find a recipe you like.


Here's what I put on the sidebar:
I will only be posting recipes that: I have made at least twice (many of them are more like 20 or 200 times), and at least 3/5 of the family like it (picky kids), and I definitely plan on making it again. I give credit when I know where the recipe came from. Some have just been in the family forever.

There is definitely a finite number of recipes I will be posting.  There will be no scheduled posting, and no rhyme or reason to why I post 40 dessert recipes and only 3 main dishes.  (Kidding.  Kind of.)  You have no obligation to follow it, or even to click over.  I will only promise you that they are actually recipes that we use often and love.

(And yes, I will be posting the awesomest buttermilk pancake recipe ever.  Very soon.)

Wednesday, May 16

Boo

I'd like to introduce you to Boo.

Boo is the newest member of our family.  Last week, Christian read a Craigslist ad of a man who needed to let his five year old dog go.  He had just moved into a home that didn't have a fenced in back yard, and he felt that he needed to give his dog to a family who would love him and take care of him, and had space for him as well.  Because we have a fenced in back yard, we had decided to start looking for a dog.  When we arrived at Boo's previous owner's home, he (the owner) was crying because he was so sad to be letting Boo go.  Thankfully, the next day he emailed us and told us that he had hoped he could find a family who would take care of him, and he ended up getting a family who exceeded his every hope.  Awww.

Boo is a beagle and basset hound mix.  He is the most mellow dog I have ever met.  He is great around the kids, even (or especially) Kaitlyn.  He almost never barks, until a bird flies into our yard or he smells a squirrel that has run around the yard.  He obeys us to a fault.  The boys take turns feeding him, cleaning up after him, and brushing him.  Kaitlyn loves playing in his water dish, and apparently I have to watch her with his food too.  Don't eat that Kaitlyn!


We love Boo!