Thursday, January 30, 2014

It was a comedy of errors, really.

But, thankfully, short lived.

Last Tuesday morning when I walked into the garage to switch the laundry, there was a big puddle of water. (Huge puddle.) I knew immediately what had happened, because it happened two years ago. The people who built the addition onto this house (let me just go ahead and say I am so glad we are only renting this house) were either too cheap to do a decent job, or they didn't have the know how. Either way, the drainage for the washer should have been done differently and was clogged with roots. The plumber had to come out and climb on the roof (?) to dig the roots out and unclog the drain.

I just knew that's what happened again, so we called the landlord who called the plumber who called us (high ho the dairy-o) and told us he wouldn't make it out until next Monday. Almost a week later.

Now, if you even have four kids, no no, if you even have two kids, you know how laundry piles up and then multiplies tenfold as it sits there. And I wasn't caught up on laundry at that point so you can imagine what the laundry would look like at the end of a week.

So, I went ahead to take the laundry that had already finished in the washer and put it in the dryer. And the dryer wouldn't turn on.

I tried everything and even checked out the breaker and nothing. I think the water shorted out the dryer. Now, these are a washer and dryer I would say are at least 8-10 years old and were handed down to us by a sweet friend before we moved to Oklahoma. So, we have used them (A LOT) for at least the last five years. And they have held up beautifully. To think that the dryer, whether shorted out or not, had seen it's last day was entirely possibly.

I went ahead and hung the laundry to dry on the kitchen chairs. I needed a plan fast because we were out of towels. I took a plastic tote that I usually have off season clothes in and put the drain in there. I did my load of laundry and after the first draining that water was just under the edge of the tote. So, I emptied a few buckets on the side of the house (which is all dirt because no grass will grow there because it never gets sun). Then I heaved and hoed the tote out the side door of the garage and emptied it splashing water and of course, dirt, all over myself. Then, I had to do it again in 15 minutes when it drained a second time. And, after the towels were done, I hung them all over the house to dry. I ended up doing three more loads of laundry the same way (jeans, more jeans and socks/underwear) which you know, there really is no good way to hang up socks and underwear to dry in the house.

Before we were handed down the washer and dryer, our dryer had gone out and I hung dry clothes for almost a year. Indoors. I don't know how in the sam hill I did that.

Anyway, after the last load, I literally threw in the towel, and decided we would all wear the same clothes for a week, I was not doing another muddy, bucket hauling load of laundry.

Well, praise God!, the plumber called on Sunday and asked if he could come out that afternoon since it was about sixty degrees and the next day it was going to be negative-freeze-your-booty-off degrees, so I told him to come on out.

And, on Tuesday morning David went down and found us a scratch and dent dryer for $300 off the price because it was scratch and dent. But, I still haven't noticed the scratch it supposedly has- David never pointed it out to me, although the salesman did point out the scratch to him at the store. (Hence, the reason it was marked down.)

I do love this new dryer. It has luxury features like a light on the inside and a door that actually has screws and a small latch to hold it closed. I don't even have to push the soap bucket up against it.

So, I have been enjoying drying the 54 loads of laundry that accumulated over the week. Apparently the kids didn't get the memo about not changing clothes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Musings: Research Edition

Me: "Travis, what are you doing with that pen?"

Travis (3): "Mom, I need that pen to do my research."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finances on Friday!

I'm linking up with Rebecca again over at Renaissance for Finances on Friday!

I've been frugal for so long that some things are just second nature to me (like rinsing out the hair conditioner bottle three times to get the last little bit out, or using the ends of the bread loaves for crumbs for meatloaf) so I have to think of things that I really did intentionally.

I didn't do a lot this week outside of what I normally do, I guess since I had doctor's appointments this week amongst other things. And our dryer died. Boo.

However, I did file our taxes myself online today. I used Taxact and it cost me $17.99 to file both state and federal. We used to think we had to pay someone to do our taxes because it was too complicated-I mean it is taxes-but I started filing my own a few years ago and it is so easy.

Anyway, I thought I would put down a few financial goals for the next few months.

-Use some of said tax refund to buy some badly, BADLY needed chairs for our table. (So that we can actually all sit at the table together at the same time.)

-Replenish emergency fund- I'm not totally anti-Dave Ramsey :)

-Go through hand me down totes in the garage and hit the consigment sale next month for clothing for the youngest seven kids for summer and some things I know I need for the new baby. I'll also need a few maternity tshirts since I'm looking at pregnancy almost through June.

-Also use the tax refund for some needed repairs to David's van

-Use the 9.99 haircut coupon I got in the mail. (We are getting into desperate times here in the hair department. Maybe I'll get a coupon for some hair color, too............)

-Put together four budget birthday parties in the next six weeks.

-Continue praying that God will bring about the perfect house in the perfect location with the perfect amount of land for the perfect price in just His perfect timing!

I really would like to put together a more precise financial goals list, but we are sort of in limbo. We are wanting to buy a house with at least ten acres of land, but for the amount of land and price we just aren't finding anything we are crazy about. Hence, praying for God's perfect timing! And, then not knowing what we may need for closing, etc. we are just trying to keep as much money in reserve as possible, and make that our main priority at this point.

So..............head on over to Renaissance to see what ideas others had this week!

Another baby update!

An Update on the Update! The doctor's office just called me and everything looked good on the ultrasound ! Relief.

Imaging called me on Wednesday and had an opening for an ultrasound yesterday morning. They were fast!

I have to admit, I have never been so nervous to go to an ultrasound. These last two pregnancies I just keep thinking that something is going to be wrong.

You have ten healthy children. Certainly the odds are that this time..........

I do trust that God is in control, but that fear is still back there lurking. I can accept that if something goes wrong, for whatever reason, God will have allowed it, but I don't want something to go wrong.

The ultrasound tech didn't say there was anything wrong, but she didn't say that there wasn't anything wrong either. It seems like they usually say, "Well, everything looks great!", but she really didn't comment either way other than pointing out what she was doing and measuring. Nothing looked wrong that I could see. And, the baby was very cooperative and gave us some great photos. She said the doctor would have the results in a few days, and would let me know, but if everything looks good then they may not call me, but just discuss it at my  next appointment. In a month.

So, I guess this is, "No news is good news."

I hate that waiting business. Good grief. Just let a person know already.

And, it turns out that according to the measurements, I am only 20 weeks today, which would put my due date at June 14. Flag day. She said she didn't know if the doctor would adjust the date or not. So I guess we'll see. My birthday is June 23, so who knows. Maybe I'll get an exciting present.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby Update!

Well, I haven't posted until now because there really wasn't much to update. I had really wanted to see the midwives here this time around, but they don't take my insurance. So, the ONLY doctor I can see that can do a vbac and takes my insurance is the same doctor I saw the last two months of my pregnancy with Brennan after I had to switch doctors (from the doctor I saw with Travis because the hospitals he delivered in had just opted to stop allowing vbacs).

So, that's fine. I called the first week in December when I was about 15 weeks and they couldn't get me in until TODAY. So, I'm about 22 weeks now with a due date of May 25. That will make this baby and Brennan about 21 months apart. Average. The doctor asked me if this pregnancy was planned. I said, "Well, I guess getting pregnant at least every other year for the last 20 years is some sort of plan." I don't know if he thought that was funny or not.

The imaging department is supposed to call me to schedule an ultrasound hopefully very soon, so I'll get a more accurate due date then. But, as we all know, I'll be late, so I'm thinking June.

He did say everything looks great so far, so I am quite relieved. It's always reassuring when you can hear the heartbeat and hear them actually say those words. I've been on the treadmill, so hopefully  my blood pressure and sugar will remain under control. I have to admit, I have cheated 1-2 times a week on the sugar thing. I had a cookie at church on Sunday. I need more self control. But, I did find these chocolate bars that are sweeted with Stevia at the natural grocer, so maybe that can be my sweet treat. Weight gain so far: 22 pounds. Yikes.

Well, maybe next time I'll have a picture of the belly.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Finances on Friday

I've been reading Rebecca's Finances on Friday posts and I thought that was a great way to really see what proactive choices you can make to improve finances.

So........I'm joining her link up to start my own Finances on Friday post!

If you've been reading my blog you know that about five years ago my husband lost his job and was unemployed for a year. Oh, he looked for jobs. Anywhere and everywhere. He was told he was underqualified, overqualified, too much, too little, too this or too that. One place told him he had been unemployed too long. (?) And many, many places didn't even acknowledge they received his application.  He went to places and asked for employment only to be told, "Go home and apply online." My husband is an eleven year military veteran, has experience in security, law enforcement, management, higher education and the finacial industry. You think he would have been able to find a job. And he did. At a home improvement store for minimum wage-part time for the next six months.

When you have (at the time) eight kids and you are the only source of income for your family-minimum wage and part time doesn't cut it.

So, we lost everything.

Why am I hashing all of this out again?  Well, let's just say it's been a long road. A VERY LONG ROAD.

There was a lot of questioning God, a lot of second guessing, a lot of guilt (am I doing everything I absolutely can?) and a lot of fear and disappointment.

I know many of you are Dave Ramsey fans, and I think he has some wonderful financial advise, but I hate his attitude. It's basically, "You are in a bad finacial place because you made bad finacial decisions because you are stupid."

You know, I don't think anyone ever makes perfect financial decisions. Hindsight is always 20/20. But, doing everything perfectly doesn't guarantee you financial success. Or even financial security. It's like cancer (I know-hang with me here). You can eat healthy and organic, exercise, not smoke, use less chemicals, and take supplements, but it doesn't guarantee that you won't someday get cancer.

See where I'm going with this?

I absolutely think that being a good steward with your finances is essential, especially if you are a Christian, God instructs us to be good stewards. And, that is precisely why I choose to be frugal and wanted to join this link up.

But, God may also allow things to happen in your life for His greater purposes, even though those purposes make NO sense to us whatsoever. We don't all have the same story, God uses us in different ways. And, just as he can use an illness in our lives to bring us near to Him, he can use finances (or loss of) to bring us near to Him as well.

So, here we are five years later. I've learned a lot, grown a lot, and have some closure. Do I understand why God chose to allow our finacial ruin and have us move across the country to Oklahoma? Umm. No, I still don't know. Ha! But, I do trust that He knows the bigger picture even if I don't!

I do, however, think that in God's timing we will have some land and a house (possibly very soon?!) to do a little farming and homesteading. This is something we've wanted to do for practically our entire marriage. Fresh eggs and vegetables and milk and ............

But, in the meantime, I can still keep track of what I'm doing to help us continue to get back on track!

My efforts this week:

-Used some swag bucks for Paypal cash to buy some maternity jeans I needed.

-Made a big batch of potato soup for dinner and to share with my book club, so I wouldn't be tempted to spend money by grabbing something quick (and a lot easier) at the store on the way there.

-Did a little work to promote my homeschool books on Currclick.

-Made a batch of homemade laundry detergent.

-Used a gift card from Christmas for a dinner date with David at Olive Garden. The total after the gift card was under $8. I can't even remember the last time I ate there. It was yummy! And, I had left overs for lunch the next day.

-Repurposed a plastic shelving unit from storage to use in the boys room.

-Bought some chicken breast for $1.79 a pound at Sam's. Cheapest I've seen it in a while!

-And, got gas at Sam's to save five cents a gallon.

-Was given two bags of hand me downs (for me!) that had two cute pairs of shoes in great condition! And some cozy sweatpants! (Yippee! Thanks to my friend!)

-A shout out to the window repairman! The passenger side of my van window rolled down, but wouldn't roll back up-on the way to church-the day it was snowing (I know!). I reluctantly called to have it fixed, because this is the fourth thing since September I've had to have worked on. (An icy branch went through my windshield last month, and some radiator work twice). Anyway, he couldn't figure out what was wrong with it after two hours of working on it, so he just pushed it back up (I can live with that) and didn't even charge me for looking at it. Bless his heart!

And, just to keep it real, where my efforts went a little awry.....

-Lost a library book. Yeah. :(

-Forgot to make David's lunch one day so he had to eat out.

-Internet bill went up $7 this year. Ouch!

Anyway, Thanks to Rebecca at Renaissance for allowing us to link up! Head over there and see what ideas others had this week!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus.............

Two Sundays ago Bethany and Brooke recited the books of the Bible in front of the entire church. But, that's not all. They recited them backwards as well!

They did a fabulous job! They also recited Psalm 23 in front of the church a couple of months ago. The children's pastor challenged them to do the memorizing for Awana and since they already knew the books forward, challenged them to do them backwards, as well. Our church started the Awana program this year and it's been great! The youngest six kids (minus Brennan) are involved and I am a Cubbie leader. David and I were leaders about 12 years ago, but we hadn't been at a church that offered it until now, and we were so excited when our church announced that we were going to start.
If you don't know anything about AWANA, check it out here!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Musings: Single Edition

Who thought it was a good idea to let one of the children buy Alvin and the Chipmunks for their secret santa sibling?

Bailey (4) has been going around singing, "All the single ladies, All the single ladies".

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goals for 2014

Well, I bet you thought this was going to be a list of my goals for this year, didn't you?

But, it's not becasuse I haven't exactly written out a list of goals for this year. As a matter of fact, I haven't even given it much thought yet, because I have pregnancy brain and have mostly been focused on feeding the children.

And laundry.

I am a checklist-driven person, so it does work well for me to have a list. So, I will work on one. I know the first thing will be to write 2014 instead of 2013 on my checks.

2013 wasn't a bad year, it was just, well, a year. David worked steady overtime this entire year. Our children grew. We laughed. We cried. I got pregnant. You know. The usual.

Today will be spent doing much of the same. We'll play Dutch Blitz, have some homemade BBQ and hopefully do more laughing than crying.

Here's to 2014!

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