Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jumping Up and Down and Screaming A Little

I just got called for an interview!  I am so excited, I could scream!  It's for a 5th grade position...and while I don't have experience in that grade level, I am so ready for the challenge!  Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers!  It's next Tuesday morning....let the preparation begin!

In No Particular Order

You know how it goes, I get busy and take a mini-hiatus on the blog thing and then the only way to ease back into things is by bulleting.  There is so much to say and my mind (and Type A) surely can't tackle the organizing of thoughts this early in the morning...so here we go....

  • Had my family in town Friday through Monday.  Kinley is now thoroughly spoiled rotten.  It was cramped quarters, big time, in our cracker box apartment, but we survived.
  • I had an interview for a teachers aide in a school district where I really, really, really want to work.  But I don't know how confident I feel...my interviewing skills suck.  But I'm working on that.  And I think what will really hurt me is that I want to be a teacher and therefore will not be a long term person for their position.  And they want long term.  :(
  • I have got to buckle down on my budget.  I was We were bad with our finances in July.  Well, the end of July, anyway.  We were using our debit cards and that is such a no-no.  I am tempted to take them out of our wallets to reduce temptation.  
  • I just realized that it's after 9 and Kin is still sleeping.  Guess that's expected when she was up till 11:00 because "a wolf was trying to get her in her room."  Uh huh.  That's started.
  • The yard sale that we're joining with friends is this weekend.  I have to buckle down and finish going through our stuff.
  • School starts in roughly 2-4 weeks in our area.  Ugh!  When do the interview calls start?
  • My hubby took Monday off to watch Kinley during my interview and now my days of the week are all jacked up!  I even commented yesterday that I was shocked that the bank inside the grocery store was open on a Sunday.  He kindly reminded me that it was in fact, Monday.  So today is my Tuesday Monday.  
  • I am so excited that today is ballet day!  I love going and socializing with the other dance mommies!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

So What!

This week, I'm saying "So What!" with Shannon at Life After I Dew...

So What if...

  • I hate my dog right now for getting me up way too early, and now she's snoring.  in my bed.
  • We almost bought a damned bird last night.  Thank God the voice of reason spoke louder than Kinley's, "I want a green one!"
  • Yesterday was the first time that I actually blow dried and ironed my hair--all summer.
  • I threw a monster toddler style tantrum last night because I had to go out at 10:30 for dog food.  See the first bullet.  
  • My husband is interviewing for a position today that I so badly want him to get.  Okay, so this isn't so much of a so-what....but wanted to put it out there anyway.
  • I have family coming in this weekend, and my house is totally trashed.
  • I was in such a mommy meltdown mood yesterday, I said to screw the budget and ordered pizza.  Some days, mommy just needs a break{down}.
  • Yesterday was my sister's birthday, and I mailed her card yesterday.  I have to get better about this!  I mean, luckily I was motivated enough to get the card...but for some reason I can't manage to actually mail it on time.  
  • Yesterday, I seriously questioned this whole baby #2 thing.  Kinley was an absolute nightmare.  

Pictures Do the Talking

1.  Kinley has decided that she's ready for a "ride-a-cycle", and surprisingly, she can reach the pedals!
2.  Loving my baby girl!
3.  With her Uncle Paul after his bike rice.
4.  Checking out a fire truck.  We saw the firemen out washing it and asked if she could check it out.  They were more than happy to let her sit in it and put on a helmet!
5.  Sitting on daddy's shoulders--she was saying, "mommy, I a monkey!"
6.  She loves her Trunki.  She looks like a homeless person singing for a dollar.
7.  I love when she lets me do her hair.
8.  Got her all situated for breakfast yesterday morning.  And her Monsters, Inc dolls came in.  They don't leave her side.
9.  Monsters, Inc in the car.
10.  I feel like the odd man out having a car and not a minivan.  I'm so not ready for a minivan.
11.  Mikey on the train at the farm.
12.  In the pioneer cabin at the farm, Mikey again.
14.  Mikey on the carousel.
15.  My husband melts my heart.
16.  She's thinking that she's something else.  A phone in each pocket!
17.   Her first fat lip.  "Slide do it!"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back On the Acronym Wagon

*A TMI post about fertility, continue if you dare...*
Our lives as we know it, will change for the next 2-3 weeks.  It's our first cycle with the Clomid and we have entered into the fertile time.  Yes, that means scheduled sex, and lots and lots of prayer.  My doctor has me on 100 mg, which is a pretty decent dosage.  I am taking it cycle days 7-11.  The side effects were anticipated and okay to deal with.  The headaches are what got me the worst....and that was primarily because of a certain two year old that doesn't get it.

I spent some time yesterday searching for blogs about infertility or something to read to feel connected or something...  You know, sometimes you just want to go through it with someone.  And I found nothing.  I had been on message board back during my pregnancy with Kinley and that was wonderful.  So I reached out to the old message boards again and really didn't find what I was looking for.  So I looked at the fertility app on my phone that I'm using and sure enough, there are message boards.  Don't you love technology?

I found one titled "Infertility" and have been corresponding generic info back and forth with one girl who is in a pretty similar situation.  It feels good to have someone else there to bounce things off of....  It's all about AF, BD, OPK, BFP, IVF, IUI.....it's been quite some time since I've been speaking in acronym.  But it's like riding a bike.

So far, we've only gone so far as using the OBGYN that I found up here.  Like I've blogged before, we are not interested in doing IVF or IUI even.  If Clomid doesn't work, then we'll count our blessings with one and be thrilled.  Financially, we can't go deeper with treatment.  As it is, our insurance isn't so ideal for infertility coverage.  So paying out of pocket for everything is not easy.  We're lucky to have had a stash in the "Medical" column on our savings spreadsheet.  But that stash is no where big enough to cover a/an Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).

I'm okay with that, really.  But I get the feeling that my doctor wants me to go straight to the RE--like now.  When he called me Tuesday, he had asked if I had set up an appointment with the specialist.  He actually had the doctor call me---but I didn't answer.  When I told him that I didn't have an appointment with the RE, he seemed mad.  I reminded him that Clomid was our limit and we wanted to stay with him for the six rounds.  He said okay, but he'd really rather have the RE on board with the treatment plan.

It's almost as if he's already discounting the Clomid as a failed option.  I just don't get it. Why did he offer to work with me at all on this if he didn't want to?  He prescribed the Clomid for days 7-11 and told me to come in for a day 23 progesterone check.  That's it.  Doctor's orders.

I guess I just wish that he had been a little more detailed with his instructions.  When is the  prime time to have sex during the cycle?  After the Clomid is finished?  Should I follow a 28 day cycle map?  Is sex every day too often?  Should it be every other day?  I just had so many more questions that didn't get answered.  I know that he is probably thinking that since I'm no rookie to Clomid, that I should just know these things...but it's been almost three years since I've been on this train. And I had a child since then.  My memory isn't what it used to be!

Luckily, the message board will be able to fill in the gap to my unanswered questions....and usually, the first hand experience answers are better and more accurate than the doctor's suggestions.

Do me a favor, if you know of any bloggers that discuss infertility, comment with their link.  I'd love to find someone else out there going through the same song and dance.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday Photo Dump

Kinley crashed in our room last night at about....ohhhhhh, one a.m.!?  Nice.  So she's asleep behind me and I'm ever so quietly clicking on this keyboard praying not to wake her.  So instead of rambling on about who knows what....

I'll leave you with a photo dump.  Enjoy.  It's my very first picmonkey collage!  {Thanks to Amanda  at My Show for sharing the picmonkey.com idea!}

1.  Kin and Luc waiting for daddy to get home.
2.  Is she 2 or 22?
3.  Going camping!  And yes, I put a white cloth down under Luc to avoid the massive amounts of dog hair that she'd leave behind in my car.  It failed.  {and we aren't in a self driven car...Richie was inside Walgreens because we forgot bottled water}
4.  Her first campfire.
5.  This reminds me that she is still 2.  Falling asleep while reading her book.  So precious.
6.  Lucy is a dork.
7.  Our first family tent.  So cozy!

Happy Thursday, ya'll!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

So What...

This week, I am joining up with Shannon at Life After I Dew for another edition of 
So What! Wednesday....

So What if...

  • I am completely excited about the new vacuum that I just ordered.  Ours pooped out a couple of weeks ago (I know, so embarrassing that it's been that long) and before we read it's final rights, it barely sucked at all.  So yeah, our carpets....not good.  
  • But more importantly, I am excited because I was able to get it for $88 shipped.  Yes.  I'm proud.
  • I am letting the TV babysit my child right now so that I can blog my So What!.  Super Why is on, and it's one with the dog....why can't they all have the dog?  You know what I'm talking about?
  • Kinley watched a movie (Monsters, Inc) in its entirety for the first time last week.  And, we were kind of celebrating a little.  Mainly because she now has an attention span a little better than a gnat.  And it's time that we don't have to think of things to entertain her and answer "why?" a bajillion times.  Yes, bad parents, letting her watch TV.  Whatever.
  • We bought her Sully, Mikey and Boo plush animals because she loves that movie so much.  Initially, we said they were for Christmas.  Yeah right.  She'll get them the day they arrive.  Who are we kidding?
  • I happy danced about our savings account after last week's check.  My husband is working his tail off (thank you, baby!) and it's paying off.  I'm starting to not be such a freak about my checks ending next month.
  • This yard sale that I'm joining with my friend, ummmm, has taken over my living room---and free time.  I am going Dave Ramsey on our stuff.  Get rid of it!  In turn, I have some nice stuff going for super cheap.  Thought about doing a blog sale for some of it....but I am really lazy and hate dealing with shipping.
  • I feel rock star-ish because I called the leasing office and threw a fit about our rent going up (twice in a year and a half!) and got it dropped back down....it's still ridiculous at $1075...but better than $1090!
  • I am exploring career options outside of teaching....and getting excited about the thought of some of them.
  • I guess I'm blowing off story time in the park today...kind of lost track of time.  Oops.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Heart Art Tutorial

This morning, I posted my latest craft adventure {I say "latest" as if I craft often---I do not} on the Living on Trees Facebook and had a few requests on how to make one.  So, here it goes.  And just FYI, the one that I posted on Facebook was my first draft.  I decided that I wanted to skip some words, play with the layout and add more words....so I did it about three times before I was completely happy with the finished product.  So what you see here is not the same one as I posted on FB earlier today.  :)

Go to Tagxedo.

Click on "create" to make your own creation.

Click on "load" to load in your own words.  For my creation, I chose words that
are significant to us.  I used the names of towns that we've lived in together, streets {street names--we didn't ever call the street home} that we've called home, important dates, our names, Kinley's full name, Lucy--of course, words the describe us:  happiness, laughter, love, smiles, dedication, promises, etc.  You get the point.
Then click "submit" after you've entered your words.

Now you need to choose a theme.  And I realize that I forgot to highlight the
theme button.  You are smart, you will see it on the menu there on the left.
My particular theme is called "Clouds Over Castle" because I'm in to the browns and blues.  I learned this the long way--so here is a tip, the outline of the colored boxes will be your background color.  Maybe you got that right off the bat...I'm a little slow.

Choose your font.  I added my own font--because I am picky like that. If you want to add your own, click there on the bottom right and find the font you want from your files.  Luckily, I keep all of mine in the same place and I knew right where to go.  But you can use one of their fonts too.  Whatever.

The next button is "Orientation" and I did nothing with this.

Now, after you've gotten this far.  Go ahead and click all of the little padlocks to the locked position.  This will save your work if you need to flip flop the layout or position of words.

Next up is choosing your shape.  

If you are like me, you did this first, because you get all excited about that part.
It's pretty self explanatory here.

Your next {basically, the last} step is to get creative.  Click on the "Word | Layout Options" button on the left menu.  You are going to come to this menu and I'll walk you through my customization from my project.  For the first tab, I chose to use numbers.  Obviously because I used important numbers in my word list.  So I clicked "yes" for that.

On the "Layout" tab, I changed nothing.

On the "Advanced" tab, I changed my background to 0% because I wanted this to have a white background even though my "theme colors" had a tan background.  I did this to save ink, basically. And because I didn't want it to look crappy from my cheap printer trying to do that much ink for a background.

{I'm going backwards here, bear with me}  On the "Skip" tab, you will see all of the words used in your project.  The words towards the top with the larger numbers, are the larger words in your picture.  So if you want some of them not so big, skip them.  I am sure there are better ways around this, but I couldn't figure it out and I'm not so patient in playing with something to figure it out.  So this worked for me.  For example, a street name was one of the big words in  my heart.  Obviously, I didn't want that, so I clicked to "Skip" that word.  The words on the bottom of the list are the tiny words.  Make sense?  So you probably don't want to skip those.  Unless one certain word is super prominent...in that case, click "skip" on a few of them.

Now, something that I didn't take a picture of...and I'm not sure why I didn't, because I did play with this feature a bunch---but the layout button on the left menu--it will rotate the words around in your picture.  So before you go and skip some words...you may want to toss the layout a little to see if you can get the look you want.  Also, the color button at the very top will rotate the colors around if you don't like the look.  Just some tips.

Key to this project: play around with it.

It took me about a half hour to finish and I did it while Kinley was up and playing...so it really was simple.

When you have it like you want it...print onto card stock {or regular paper, or whatever} and throw it in a frame.

Ta-da.  Art.

I really am not that great at tutorials, so if I left something out or if it's unclear, you can always send me a comment of find me on FB and I will be more than happy to clarify any of the steps.

Oh, and when you print it on regular sized paper or card stock, you will need to trim it for an 8x10 frame.  I know.  Common sense.  

I still hope to get  a mat {or is it matte?} from Hobby Lobby to make it even cuter, but even now, I am impressed.  :)

I want to see your creations!  So please share on FB and tag Living On Trees so that I can see it!

The Best Daddy

Richie took Kinley on her first fishing trip over the weekend.  It was such a cute moment!  And while I wanted to be there for this "first" for her, I knew that it was something that he needed to have on his own.  She was so excited while I packed up her bag with sunscreen, snacks and a sippy cup.  He bought her a new, pink fishing pole and her own bobber.  

Such a girly fisher-chick.

He said that fifteen fish came off her pole and she was loving every second of it.  She didn't want to touch them at first, but by the end, she did touch one.  He said that there was one fish that she was particularly attached to and she insisted that it sit next to her for quite some time.  Sorry fish.

A New Lease On Life

First visit to the splash park this summer.  I
don't know why I waited so long.  She loved it!
Six months ago, our first year lease was up in this apartment and the paperwork was on our door to let them know if we were going to stay or go.  Talk about pressure!  We didn't know what to do.  Do we want to stay?  No way.  Do we have to stay?  I'm not sure.  What is best for us?  What is best for Kinley?  We decided at the last minute, that we would stay.  But only six more months.  That's what we told ourselves.  That six month extension would bring us to August and by then we would know what school district I would be working in and be able to be doing our house search.  And then, we could maybe extend it one more month just to get us extra time to move into the house.
On Friday, the notice came back.  Those six months came and went so fast.  And here we are again.  Not only is this a reminder of what didn't happen in the last six months, but it's a slap in the face as to what will we do now.

We really don't want to stay, but can't realistically leave either.  I still don't have a job.  And it's not looking too promising for fall either.  I can't even get the subbing coordinator to call me back to ensure that I am on the sub list for fall.  I am so over it with the teaching drama.  I started applying in other fields and am holding out hope for those options.

The stress of not being where we want to be in life, and the dread of resigning a lease to lock us in a "home" where we don't want to be was really taking a toll.  We were angry.  Our communication was nonexistent.  It was just not a good situation.  I remembered back to our marital counseling last year and knew that we were back in our pattern of not fixing or addressing what was wrong.  So on a whim, I asked a close friend to keep K for a few hours so that we could do dinner and talk this through.

Over dinner (and a margarita or two) we discussed our feelings about things.  We discussed moving.  We discussed staying.  We discussed options.  But most of all, we talked.  We needed to talk.  Moving crossed both of our minds.  Let's face it, we moved up here to better our lives--better Kinley's life.  And we're apartment locked.  That's not what we wanted for her or us.  But moving back would worsen our job situation for both of us.  Sure, we still own a house down there (but it's rented out through September and we already sent out the new lease).  We have friends and family down there.  It was an option considered.

But we have a pattern.  We don't hunker down and brave the storm.  When life gets down and we feel defeated, we leave.  We left Chicago-land before we were married because I was overwhelmed and just couldn't take it.  We then left southern IL because his job wasn't what it was supposed to be and the new jobs up here promised so much more for our family.  So we left.  And here we are again, not living how we expected to, and we discuss moving.  It has to stop.  We have to stop the cycle of just up and moving when we aren't getting things EXACTLY how we want them to be.  Most importantly, don't we want to teach Kinley to persevere through the tough times?

Sure we don't want her raised in an apartment.  But we won't be here forever (I hope not, anyway).  We have to brave through another lease and get over it.  I seriously wanted to drive over to the local shelter that night and talk to some of the people living with their children with no home.  no apartment.  How boo-hoo will we be then?  It's time to start being thankful for all that we do have and stop crying over what we don't have.
"I want to take my rest time with Monsters."
Monsters, Inc.  Her favorite movie.
She lasted all of twenty minutes before she was out.
Connie (the budget coach) told us that we will be in a great place to buy a house by the time that Kage is in the first grade.  That's when it starts to matter.  Yeah, that sucks.  That is a long time.  But in the big picture, it really isn't.  And won't we appreciate it so much more after enduring these years of hard work and perseverance?

I'm sure that I'll have to pep talk myself many times over during these years of a strict lifestyle.  But if that's what it takes...

We decided that we're going to resign for another year.  A full year.  But only because each time we resign, they raise the rent.  We are now going to be paying $1090 a month for a rinky dink two bedroom.  When we initially moved in, it was $995.  So in a year and a half we have gone up that much.  Crazy, right?

As another option, I did look into renting a house, but they just really aren't in our budget.  We can't find something decent for less than $1500 a month--and then the utilities on a house are so much greater than our tiny apartment.  To be able to live within our means and pay off the debt with the intensity that we are, we have to hunker down and do what's right.  Not what's fun.

Living within your means takes great strength.  Sure we could get a loan, buy a house, struggle and possibly lose.  But why do that to ourselves?  God speaks in different ways.  Right after I wrote this post, the K-Love Morning Show  Facebook page posted this status:

"Walking through a home under foreclosure, on one wall I saw the names of 3 children and their height measurements. I realized that I need to pray for the families who are losing their homes where great memories were made. Click "like" if you will join us in praying. - Amy"

We are doing the right thing.  As hard as it is, it's the right thing.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Firetrucks in Heaven

Kinley always mentions Papa John in her prayers.  Every night.  But until recently, it was just words to her.  The past week or so, she's begun asking for Papa John.  She knows every other name that she mentions in her prayers--she's actually met them and knows them.  The other day, her and I were in the car and she asked me if she could see Papa John.  It literally knocked the wind out of me.  God knows how many times I have said those exact same words out loud since he left us in 2005.

I always told myself that my child would know him as well as they possibly could.  He will not be forgotten.  He will not be unknown in my home.  And I knew that the day would come when she would start the questions...I guess I just didn't expect it to be so soon....and so random.

I've told her before that he lives in Heaven with Jesus.  I've told her a lot of things about him.  But it was at times when I felt strong enough to talk about him without crying.  I don't want her to associate talking about him with mommy crying.  But when she randomly asked me the other day, my eyes filled with tears and I had to choke down the knot in my throat before I could answer her.

Every year at the parade, I tell her about Papa John and how wonderful he was, and that he was on the fire department and how excited he got for the firemen fish fry.  How he would sit up on grandma and grandpa's porch and watch the parade go by while all of us kids sat on the curb to be as close to the candy as we could get.  I still remember looking back at the porch and seeing him up there.  I can't make it through that parade without crying at least once.

What do I want her to know?  Everything.  But in time.

I told her that he was in Heaven with Jesus.  I told her that he is her angel and watches over her all day and night.  She asked if it was his job.  I smiled and told her that he had the best job.  She asked if she could go to Heaven with him.  And I simply told her that it wasn't her turn yet.  And that thought brought me to tears even more.

She told me that Papa John was on a firetruck in Heaven and that made my heart swell.  She has been listening all of those times that I told her about him.  I always tell her that he would have been so proud to put her up on those firetrucks and show her around the firehouse.

I told her that Heaven was in the stars--because isn't that how you should explain it to a child?  I guess I want her to have a visual of where Papa may be.  Something that she can understand.

She has confirmed her thoughts about Papa with me several times since that day.  She'll tell me that Papa John is her angel in Heaven with Jesus.  And she seems okay with that right now.  She doesn't understand that he was my daddy.  She doesn't understand the pain of losing him.  She doesn't understand the pain of missing him every day.  But she does know that he's her Papa in the sky that watches over her.  And I think that's pretty good for two--and a half.

What do you tell your child{ren} about deceased family members?  How do you keep their memory alive?

Christmas In July?

Normally, I am the one that despises the Christmas shopping.  The "who to buy for" list and adding up the cost of everything.  Oh, the cost!  But this year, I am pumped!  It's only July, but I have our list ready to go with who to buy for, how much to spend on each person and an {empty} spreadsheet with ideas for each person.  Obviously, it's July and the nieces and nephews haven't started their "I wants" yet.  But I'm trying to be proactive here.

Like I said, I created this spreadsheet--more like a chart right now...  But I want to be sure that we are planning for every person and every extra expense that Christmas may throw at us.  Right now, I am up to seventeen people (and Kinley, of course) that have made the cut.  We don't buy for the adults {aside from our parents and grandparents} but only for the kids.  We are blessed with lots of little ones!  But then I also added in the holiday cards, wrapping and postage.  What am I forgetting?

I have noticed that the last couple of years, the participating families sending Christmas cards are just dwindling.  It really makes me sad.  That is one of the best parts about the holidays.  You get mail that isn't a bill!  And normally, that mail has adorable family photos that you want to see.  Photos of people that you rarely get to see!  As easy as photo cards are these days {we do ours at Walmart} why doesn't everyone send them?!  So here it is July, and I'm asking you now, to send me a photo card.  Mmmm, K?  It makes my heart smile.

I did a quick search on my beloved Pinterest for Christmas photo ideas this morning and came up with nothing.  I want to be prepared!  I know that some cards have cute summer photos on them and I wanted to see if I could be inspired to take something now for the card later.  Okay, honestly, I am hoping and praying for this kind of card:
but I know that our chances are way slim.  So I'm planning for the family of three card photo.  And so far, nodda.  I'm hoping that I can con convince one of my fancy camera friends to take on the challenge of doing our family Christmas pictures {hint, hint}.  Last year=expensive nightmare. {and for whatever reason, I can not find a single picture from that photo session.  I will keep looking.}

We decided on a tradition that Santa can only bring three gifts to our house because of his sleigh only being able to hold so many toys for all of the children of the world.  We plan to continue that this year.  So her big gift will be from us and then Santa will bring her three more.  And this year, she just may be able to get in to the gift of giving and I am so, so excited.  And let me clarify--this is still going to be a Christmas on a budget. We are not being extravagant on gifts--because that to me {us} is stupid.  And since I'm always honest on here, I will tell you now that we will spend a total {and not a penny more} of $870.  That is for all seventeen people, Kinley, cards, postage, wrapping, and each other.  Is that high?  Do share--because I am honestly interested.  And if I can save money, you bet I'm going to do it!  My goal is to come on here in January and announce how UNDER budget we were from Christmas.

I was informed on my personal FB account this morning {have you "liked" Living on Trees on FB yet?  why not?} I was told that every Thursday through the summer, Target clearances their toys.  I will be there every Thursday for the rest of the summer.  I don't know what I am shopping for yet, but if I see a good deal, I am on it.

And I can be on it already, thanks to Connie--the budget coach!  We are almost fully funded for all expenses Christmas.  Yes, that is a first for me, ever, like--ever.  To not put Christmas on plastic, and not stress to holy heaven about how to pay for Christmas--you just don't even know.

I guess that's why I am writing a Christmas in July blog post.  I can finally ENJOY the holiday for what it's about.  Creating the memories, not the debt.  And if you haven't started your savings yet, it's not too late!  You still have 163 days left to save!

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