Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Ryan's entire family came down for Thanksgiving. This was a really big deal because we haven't all been together in nearly two years. Ryan's brother, Steve, and his family met Elysse for the first time.

As you can tell, Nathan and Audrey didn't want to cooperate for the photo shoot.

Top: Tonya, Ryan, Sandy, Steve, Rosie
Middle: Audrey, John, Elysse, Maureen
Bottom: Nathan, Alaina, Zachary
The boys got along well playing Legos !
(Zachary is a long time fan of Legos and Nathan is just learning about them.)
The girls enjoyed manicures and pedicures.

Monday Ryan's mom flew in from Florida and Rosie and Alaina flew in from Michigan.

Tuesday while Nathan was in school and Ryan was at work the girls had a "Girls Day" that began with manicures and pedicures and ended with a nice lunch out.

Wednesday Ryan's dad, Steve and Zachary arrived in the late morning. They drove in from Michigan.

Thursday the guys took the kids over to Sandy's to watch the Detroit Lions play football. While we ladies stayed at my house pretending to be super busy in the kitchen. Our dinner was simple but delicious with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and biscuits. For dessert we had pumpkin bars, apple pie and chocolate pudding pie.

Friday the guys were suppose to go golfing but the weather didn't cooperate. Instead we all headed to the bowling alley and played a couple of games. The bowling alley is smoke free and it was wonderful! We had a really good time.

Saturday the guys took Zachary and Elysse over to Sandy's to watch Michigan State football (they ended the season 11-1) while the rest of us went to see the new Disney movie, Tangled. I really enjoyed the movie, nearly cried, basically it was an animated chick flick. If you have little ones just know that this Disney movie follows the pattern of all others that have come before - there is an archvillain character that tends to be scary.

Thus ended our Thanksgiving weekend. Now I am looking forward to Christmas when we will be traveling up to Michigan. My family has also not been together for two years - so we will have another reunion next month.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I have started writing our story about Audrey's diagnosis and everything that has happened since then. It is going slow because I sometimes choose not to write based on - I don't want to cry and feel like garbage. I do have a few pages (totally rough and not edited) and I will eventually add more. But retelling the story brings up so many emotions and fears about the future.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saving Money

It all started after we moved into our home in North Carolina in May of 2008. For the first time since we were married (2002) we had a mortgage payment. Adjusting to a mortgage payment wasn't too difficult because we were also were getting a real paycheck. After our first year in our home we decided to refinance our mortgage which ended up giving us a much better interest rate and thus reducing the total amount of our monthly mortgage payment. In talking with several people, my mom included, we decided we were going to pay more than our minimum monthly mortgage payment which will cut down on the length of our mortgage and the amount of interest paid over the life of our loan.

I expected that when Ryan began working he would go out to eat everyday (that is what the attorneys that I worked for in MI did EVERYDAY). He had other plans. He brings a lunch to work nearly everyday. Imagine spending $7-$11 for lunch everyday at the end of the month that translates to a $140-$220 bill - not to mention the calories!

When we moved into our home we put a nice flat screen television in our bedroom and one in the basement. After some time we decided to move the television our of our bedroom for a couple of reasons (1) we wanted to put it in an exercise room (2) we would probably accomplish more during the day and go to bed earlier at night if it wasn't in there. I will admit it took some adjusting but I survived and now I actually prefer not having it in there. With the television out of my bedroom I realized how much less television I watch. I mentioned to Ryan that if it wasn't for his love of sports we could just get rid of satellite television all together. It didn't take long before Ryan had a plan. We purchased a Sling Box that he was then able to hook up to his sister's internet and satellite box that will allow Ryan to watch anything on her Direct TV package through his computer (yes, this is totally legal!). Now we no longer have a television bill each month. Any network shows that we want to watch we can also access through the network websites - you just can't watch the shows live but the next day isn't bad especially when considering you watch far fewer commercials. Ryan's entire family thinks we are nuts.

While Audrey is in gymnastics the parents sit outside a wall of glass. I have made a couple of really good friends during this time. One week we were sitting there and this mom that is always on her cell phone (I call her the cell phone mom) pulled out this binder with baseball card protector sheets full of coupons. The other mom I was talking (Tanya) to and I were totally shocked. Cell phone mom became coupon mom. The next week Tanya and I were discussing how we could never be organized enough to coupon in the way that coupon mom does and we wouldn't want to shop all over town to get the best deals because we simply don't have enough time. Well when coupon mom walked in I decided to talk to her. Before the 45 minute class was over I was convinced. I can coupon! I have learned so much and I love it. At some point I will put up a post just about couponing! Though I am saving money - quite a lot, actually - I am not one of those women you see on television that can buy a months worth of groceries for a family of four on a $75 budget.

In order to save money I also cut Ryan and Nathan's hair. I started cutting Ryan's hair shortly after we were married. I didn't like doing it and actually stopped for awhile. When we moved to FL I decided I was going to do it again. Yes, I did make him look ridiculous more than once - a great friend of mine, who does hair professionally, had us over and showed me how to give Ryan a good cut. Now I do not mind it and I am actually good at cutting their hair. Just this week I have decided that I am going to give up my blonde highlights because they are SO expensive and try out my natural color for 6 months to a year and see how I feel about it. Once upon a time my hair really was naturally blonde but age and having children have darkened my hair over the years. Who knows, maybe it will be just the change that I need...

Recently I was reflecting on all of the wonderful things we do to save money. We thought these things through and I enjoy the challenge as well as the results. I am a mom that stays at home and therefore I do not financially contribute to my family. I feel like finding ways to save money and implementing them is one way I can contribute to our families financial health.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

These Days

Finally! A smile for the camera. She often gives us big smiles but this is a first for the camera. These days Elysse is rolling over both ways - still with a lot of effort. We think she is going to have a fantastic sense of humor as she laughs all of the time and it seems as though she even finds herself to be funny.
Check out the bottom row of teeth. Nathan had two teeth pulled at the dentist office last week. He had an adult tooth growing in behind the two middle lower level teeth. The baby teeth were not giving up so we had to have them pulled. I am grateful that the kids have "chicklet style" teeth. I think it reduces the chance that they will have to have braces in the future!
Both Nathan and Audrey were awarded in the past couple of weeks. Nathan's certificate is for being a great safety passenger on the school bus and adhering to all of the rules. Audrey's is for being recognized as having the cutest costume at the Fall Festival.
Okay, everyone knows about my obsession with a clean house - yup, Audrey is in training. She wants to be big and take on all of the responsibilities around the house - including running the vacuum cleaner that is taller and probably only weighs slightly less than she does.
Can I just say I am so thankful for this bed head!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, is it bad that it is nearly 1 p.m. and I am still sitting in the house in my pajamas? I don't plan on getting dressed for the rest of the day either. If you could see what it looks like outside here in Asheville, you would think it a wise decision. We had a junky day yesterday as Audrey had a temperature of 102 and we had to go to the clinic for four hours of fluids and antibiotics via IV. That doesn't have much to do with today though. My house has never been messier! I keep thinking about all of the things I have to do (mostly cleaning around the house) and it makes me want to crawl back into bed and put the covers over my head. Luckily Audrey is doing much better. It looks like she developed an ear infection that caused a fever and a very fragile little girl. She is enjoying the pajama day today as well - not to mention the endless videos at her disposal...