Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fun with Friends

We are surrounded by so many young couples with young kids in our church--and we are very lucky to have super friends for Ollie and Lily to play with. In the last month, we've had several (but not all!) of these special friends over--here are a few pictures of the fun:

Makenzie and Ollie reading
This is the same Makenzie that came to our dance party a few months back...


We also did 'pudding paintings' with Ollie's friend, Eli. Those boys are 4 days apart--and WOW are they alike!
Finally, we had Taylor and Mason over yesterday morning for a while--and they had so much fun playing and dancing. But here are some pictures of them drawing--they wrote their names and shopping lists.



It's so much fun to have friends to play with. And these aren't the only ones!!! (Just the ones I happen to have recent pictures of!) We are getting SO excited to play at the park and go on walks again...spring WILL come.

Eventually.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Breakfast

Ollie and Lily are early risers, and like their mom and dad, also like to eat as soon as they're up. This is usually not a problem...except on weekends when mom and dad like to sleep in until 7:15.

Lately, we've been getting Lily up when she's awake (she and Ollie carry on long conversations in their room until we come...) and then we take her into our bed to 'play' for a couple minutes until breakfast. Ollie is not so patient. He is ready to eat the minute he's out of bed...so we just tell him to go get their cereal and start eating. And they do!

This is the picture I snapped this morning as I got up...they'd been in the kitchen eating for a few minutes. Plates and everything.
Mmmmmmmmm.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

blah

Desperately. Need. Sun. And. Warm. Weather.....


I'm glad to see that there are few other posts out there today that are a bit less-than chipper.

I'm ready for spring, too.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Grocery Shopping

This has always been a favorite task of mine because a) I love Walmart, b) I love food, and c) having a house full of food makes me feel so wonderful.

Having said that, we've been experimenting with a new system lately. I'd like to share it...hesitantly, because I really don't want to be bragging...at the same time, I KNOW that many of us are looking for ways to cut down on costs. So here goes:

Joel and I have been following many of Dave Ramsey's ideas as far as how to manage our finances. We follow a spending plan each month that allows us to decide how every dollar we make will be spent BEFORE we spend it. This has virtually eliminated fighting about money. It feels so good to be on the same page with it--what we're spending, how we're spending it, and what we're saving for.

But something new we're trying since October is using cash for groceries.

We budget $425 a month for food--this includes about $25 that we save monthly for our yearly purchase of a quarter of a cow for beef. So about $400 to spend on eating out and groceries (which also includes toiletries/hair products/toilet paper/etc.)

This was starting to be a bit tricky. So in October we decided to try using only cash for food. If it worked--great! If not, we'd start budgeting a little more each month for food, no biggie. But guess what we found--IT TOTALLY WORKS! In fact, we save about $30 a month spending cash, instead of Debit cards.

Here's what we do:

1. Each month, we get our $400 cash and put it in our handy-dandy Dave Ramsey cash envelopes. (we only do this for food, though)2. Second, anytime we buy food, it comes out of that money.

3. Before shopping, I write down what we'll be eating for the next week to 10 days.

4. Then I make a list. I'm a bit anal in this area...but it works for me. Not only do I write down ONLY what we'll need for that week, (of course, though, my vanilla bean latte IS a need...) I also write down in parentheses next to it how much that item will cost. Then, I tally it all up to see what my total will likely be. Surprisingly, I am usually within a couple bucks of this!

This takes a little work...but for me, it's easier than doing coupons or shopping around for deals. I know some people have great luck with that...but for me, it's too much work.

If you are looking for a way to cut costs and save a little money--I challenge you to try this. Seriously. It has worked WONDERS for us.

And guess what--after doing my last shopping trip for the month this morning, I have $15 extra money to use for what we want!!! (Can you say DRUBERS?????)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

b-ball

It seems like I've written about this before...

Here are some action shots of my little athlete. He really does do this all day long. And yes, you've seen the shorts and tank top before. He wears this constantly.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Questions About Heaven

Wow. I wasn't prepared for this stage. Ollie has started asking lots of questions about heaven. And dying. After his friend died last February, we talked about how 'Cora is in heaven with Jesus'. And he got that. (Although he did once ask whether she walked to heaven or drove in a car...) But it was very basic.

This last week, Ollie has been asking more questions. Like, "Did Cora get big?" "Is she still little?" "Will I go to heaven?" "Is Lily gonna go to heaven when she's little?" Hmmmm...so I decided to introduce the word 'die'. I had to explain what that meant.
"Am I gonna die, Mommy?" Well, someday...when you're much bigger... (How do you answer that?) I tell him that when we die, if we know Jesus, we get to go to heaven and live with Him. More thinking..."I don't know Jesus. I don't want to go to heaven."
Today, before naptime, we had a long talk about this. How we know Jesus. This led into a talk about sin and how Jesus came to die for us--so we could know him. "I don't want to 'hin', mommy." Well, we ALL sin! But that's why Jesus died--because he loved us so much! I shared how God is making a special place for us. "Is it like a big house?" Yes, sort of... "Are you going to be there, Mommy?" Yes, I will. And so will Daddy. "Are there toys there?" Well....there's lots of amazing stuff!
Wow. How much he comprehends, I don't know. But he is full of questions!!! And I'm praying that he understands just how MUCH God loves him. And that heaven is a WONDERFUL place to be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day!

My sister decided to come visit us tonight, so, being President's Day...we decided to have a party!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Apparently he listens.

This little guy just amazes me. Seriously. Every day I am shocked at what he knows.

And he misses NOTHING. Today, we had lots of play time together. His creative imagination is so much fun. He is really starting to play on his own more--pretending and imagining.

Basketball is a favorite. Several times a day, he has a game. He switches into his basketball uniform and plays for a long time. We often have to play. (I mean 'get to'.) And his babies sit by the TV and watch. During supper tonight, he said, "Mom, after this, I'm gonna go play basketball." "Again?" I asked. "Yeah, because I'm weird!" was his response.

We played earlier today with his baby. She had to go the doctor, and on the way to the appointment, Ollie said we had to go to the bank. But we sat on his bed for a long time just packing the diaper bag. "Mom, what should we put in here?" He added a few random things from the toy basket: he tried to fit the baseball bat, but it was 'too big'. He added a ball, a horse, a bottle, a microphone (again, didn't fit), a thermometer, and an etch-a-sketch. Finally, he decided against the etch-a-sketch, reasoning that the baby 'was too little for the etch-a-sketch'. I could have sat and watched him do this for hours.

Finally, tonight, he put me to bed. He and Lily covered me up in his bed, and then Lily went to play. But Ollie turned out the light, read me a story, and sang (one line of) a song. He also continually reminded me that I'd 'be fine', that 'there's nothing scary in here', and he even graciously checked under the bed at least 5 times to tell me there's no monsters in the room. Oh, and he reminded again that his rocking horse was 'only a piece of wood'. I love hearing him repeat all those things we say. He left the room, shut the door and said, "have a good evening." That boy cracks me up.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Storytime with Lily

Lily has started to take much more of an interest in books in the last week or so. This is one of her favorites:
Here is a short video clip of Lily 'reading' the book:

video

She is starting to use more words, too. She says, 'momma', 'dadda', 'cheese', 'done', 'hot', 'shoes' or 'socks' ('sss'), barks like a dog, and signs 'more' and 'eat'. Such a fun stage!

Friday, February 5, 2010

If you like coffee...

Or enjoy the smell, or just like a yummy hot drink, you should try this:
This is SO delicious. And just by adding a few teaspoons and pouring in hot water--you get froth like this--INSTANTLY!
Definitely a highlight of my day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

budding artist

I've always been fascinated by the artistic stages kids go through--how they start at about 12-18 months with scribbles on paper, and then later, at around 3 they are drawing pictures that they can identify, at 4 starting to make people (heads and many legs) and then, finally, adding a body, feet, facial features, etc.

It's amazing how predictable that is.

Ollie is starting to really enjoy drawing. He's gone from simple scribbling, to 'making' letters, and now he's actually drawing things.

Here's his picture of a basketball:

Here's his name: (see the 'O', the 'L', and the 'I'?)
And he was spelling my name...one of the letters is an 'A'. So I wrote one for him to see...and he copied it! (that's his red A)

It's so fun to see him learning and growing and having such curiosity for that!