Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Poor is a state of mind

Sunday after church Lauren came over with Tay to hang out & enjoy the day.  I usually keep Cam's Lightening McQueen couches in the loft-area under his bed where they're rarely used.  I decided to pull them out for the kids & they've been sitting in them all the time!

This picture perfectly captures Reese's goofy personality; she's so opinionated & outspoken!

She loves waving and saying, "hi!"  Love this sweet little girl so much!

Speaking of love, my little guy was showing off his "silliest faces".

Here's the three little buddies being silly together!  Taylor is such a sweet little soul & so gentle with my rough little Reese.  Reese is lucky she has such patient friends!  We're still working on the whole hitting thing.

Since we wanted to kill three birds with one stone while making the kids happy at the same time, we drew up a bubble bath full of toys in our Master tub.

I adore this picture!  I'm so thankful that these two are so close & love each other so much.  I hope they always protect each other & stay best friends as they grow.

We've had some really stressful weeks since money's been so tight lately.  I took my friend Lesli's advice & began reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover which has really helped in making us feel empowered vs. helpless & hopeless during this time.  Mike's job is also changing up & he's going to be taking a sale's territory which should also help the situation.  Have you ever noticed that when you're in a bad place, everyone else's happiness seems amplified?  That's how I feel these days.  I need to stay away from social media... reading everyone's exciting, happy stories on Facebook only seem to bring me down.  I totally agree with Dave Ramsey when he says, I've been broke but never poor; poor is a state of mind.  When I look at my awesome kids, how could I possibly feel poor?!  I have a husband who loves me through thick & thin, stable jobs, a beautiful home.  I am rich no matter what our bank account balance is.  I know things will get better and I really do believe that God only gives us what we can handle.  I've learned a lot over the past month or so.  I'm a much more conscious shopper, I've nailed down our weekly menus & plan to shop on Saturdays with a very small budget.  It's almost become a fun challenge in a way.  We've also become way more creative in our weekend family outings, searching for inexpensive or even free things to do.  When I watched the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last night, did I feel envious of their lavish, care-free seeming lifestyles?  Sure, a little bit!  But, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?  I'll sacrifice now so we have more in the future.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Failing miserably

As 2013 started, I've talked about reading The Happiness Project & began working through each month in order to create a happier version of me.  Well, let me tell you, over the past week I am failing miserably.  I've been so stressed out & my attitude has been horrible some days. We've been on a tight budget since our Thanksgiving trip to Asheville, Christmas, our Chicago trip & from the overall move into our new house five months ago.  So, we're waiting on our tax return to do a few projects around the house; paint the dining room & convert it into a playroom, get a new sink, new kitchen table & maybe a light fixture or two.  Then last week I came home from work on Tuesday to find a few bugs in our shower.  When I say I'm disgusted & terrified by the idea of bugs, I mean it.  Mike was getting ready to head to poker that night, so we didn't have all that much time to talk about it.  After the kids were in bed, I furiously Googled bugs to figure out what it could be.  When I discovered this, I nearly had a panic attack...

Yep, the disgusting insects in our shower were TERMITES!!!!!  So, I immediately freaked, imaging the unseen damage that was done.  I have zero experience with termites & only recall the horror stories I may have heard from other people.  So, I text Mike & he set up four bug guys to come through on Wednesday, my day off, to give us quotes.  I was a wreck, having nightmares of bugs crawling on me & being unable to eat because I was so freaked out & overwhelmed by the idea of these termites & the possible steep cost.  The first bug guy sent me into an absolute tizzy as he talked about ripping out the shower & bathroom tile.  We do not have that kind of cash laying around, so my mind was in a whirl.  The next guy was an absolute saint & made me feel so much better as he said, "this is not a big deal" & proceeded to show me  pictures of true termite problems.  Anyway, I learned more about termites in those 24 hours than I ever cared to learn in a lifetime.  What it boils down to is we're going to have an application of Termidor put around our house to treat this current issue & protect us from future issues.  If you live in the Tampa area, I highly recommend Dave Nelson, he was so helpful, sensed my unease & really helped me feel better.   We had a home inspection done prior to buying this house, but it showed no termite problems because there weren't any signs.  We only found the problem because the "swarmers" which are pictured above, came through a gap in our shower grout.  The bug guys estimate they've been there for 3-8 years since that's how long it takes for the swarmers to emerge.  Our house is about 9 years old.  They're subterranean termites & don't appear to have done damage, according to the inspections.  We'll be paying the $1200 for this Termidor application once our tax return comes through in a few weeks & that will take care of the problem & protect us for the next 10 years. It's something that needs to be done regardless of this current issue, it's just not something I really felt like spending our money on since we have so many other things I want done in our house.  I am not a patient person!  In the meantime, the bug guy, Dave just advised that we put duct tape at the area they've been able to squeeze through so I don't have to look at them.  Since they're been there about five years at this point, another few weeks isn't going to make a bit of difference.

So, other than learning everything I never wanted to know about termites last week, it also reinforced that I need a major attitude adjustment.  My mindset goes South during times of stress, especially financial stress.  Mike always has such a positive outlook that it only magnifies my poor outlook.  And once I've gotten onto a rant & am behaving badly, I just keep going because I figure, I'm already looking like a horrible person, I may as well just get it all out.  Once it's said and done, I feel awful.  It's not fun for me or Mike, so it's something I need to work on.  I often wish I had Mike's sunny disposition on life!  He's the "glass half full" and I'm the "glass half empty" in our relationship.  I think that's why I'm such a perfectionist when it comes to the appearance of my house since it's something I CAN control.  I have such a hard time controlling my attitude & outbursts so I focus on things I have control over.  It appears that the take-home from this post is, I am a big ole hot mess!  Gotta run, it's back to the self-help books for this gal!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life's a beach

Sunday afternoon we ventured to the beach for our friend's daughter's 4th birthday.  We rarely make it to the beach since it takes a little over an hour to get there, but when we do go, I always wonder why we don't get there more often.  It was an incredibly beautiful day & the kids had a blast.  Reese has really only been to the beach maybe one time & she was gaga over it!  Way more into it than Cam ever was as a baby.

I had my hands full, so I'm so thankful that Jill took all of these pictures to capture Reese's "first" time at the beach.  I love this picture!  I can't wait to take her back when she's actually wearing a bathing suit & can go into the water.  The Gulf gets really cold during the winter but she didn't bat an eye at the frigid water.

Cameron is sometimes bothered by the sand so I think he can take or leave the beach but he had a great time rocking out these sweet shades!

Reese loved frolicking with her bestie Samantha.  They love each other!  Funny to think that they spend more than forty hours per week together at daycare.  They're going to be like sisters as they grow.

There was a tiki bar a hop, skip & a jump away so Lauren & I made a pit stop for a pina colada.  Pina colada + gorgeous weather & scenery + good friends & family = happy Allison!

Despite the pained look on Reese's face, we had such a great time at the beach!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Recent happenings

It's been a while since I've updated & I guess it's because I haven't had all too much to say!  It's been business as usual around these parts.  

Cam & I have been having enjoyable Wednesdays together as usual.  We still go to the park every week for our lunch date & the rest of the day I do laundry, laundry & even more laundry!  Before we worked on his homework last week, Cam wanted hot chocolate with whipped cream.  He loves getting a shot of whipped cream in the ole gullet too!

It was nearly 80 degrees outside as he sipped his hot chocolate, but hey, he had a craving!

Last week I whipped up a deliciously healthy, hearty lentil soup.  Click here for the recipe.  It had a little kick to it, so I pureed the kids' batch & mixed in some plain Greek yogurt to cool it off.  The only reason I pureed it was because Cam wouldn't knowingly eat a bunch of vegetables to save his life.  They say that picky eaters are made, not born, but I beg to differ.  We eat really healthfully & don't make any special meals for our kids, but Cam refuses to eat all vegetables & many fruits.  Day in & day out, I serve him fruits & vegetables & day in & day out he refuses them.  We get him to try a single bite but he refuses more & I refuse to make every meal a battle.  I'm praying he grows out of it as he gets older, but we'll see.  Tonight I'm making Pioneer Woman's 16 minute Florentine pasta.  A yummy dinner that takes less than twenty minutes?  Yes, please!  Click here for the recipe.

 Reese has been doing great too, getting a couple more teeth on the bottom & attempting to walk more.  I don't know why at almost 15 months old this girl continues to crawl most of the time when she's a champ at walking.  She may be holding herself back since she's probably a perfectionist like her mommy & sometimes chooses the easier route instead of falling & failing at the harder route!

I seriously do not know why I waste my time putting shoes & socks on this girl before we leave the house each morning since she promptly rips them off as soon as we get going.  Stinker.

And as sweet and loving as my Reese can be, we're still having issues with her smacking people.  She's definitely thinking twice about it though so I know she realizes that it's wrong.  This morning she went to smack my face (for absolutely no reason at all) & stopped herself & instead put a hand on each side of my face with a loving squeeze.  As I'm hoping Cam grows out of his picky eating, I'm hoping she grows out of this hitting.  In the meantime, we'll continue to correct & discipline her.

This morning has been so incredibly beautiful so Cam & I took a really long walk.  We went through the subdivision across the street from us, so I could admire the lake-view homes.  I always tell Mike that this is our future house & this morning, I text him this picture saying, "home sweet home."  It's a crummy picture because I had to take it from far away, as you can see there was a little boy with his dog out front.  Didn't want to look like a stalker & have the cops take me away to jail so I had to be a little sly!

We discovered a walkway that led to the lake which was nice.  It's always been my dream to live on the water.  So peaceful!

After our walk we whipped up some cookies for our church to pass out to neighboring businesses for Valentine's Day.  You cannot go wrong with the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe!  Instead of chocolate chips, we used V-Day M&Ms.  

 I'll pop the cookies in the freezer until we head to church Sunday.  We'll head to the park for our lunch date & then I have another nutrition webinar to sit in on so I can get a couple more hours for my continuing education.  Slowly but surely, I'm chipping away!  So, that's what's been going on around here, hope you're all having a great week too!

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