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baby 2
I am sure most of you have noticed my blog has not been updated since December 28. For a deal blog, that’s pretty ridiculous.  Very ridiculous. I did not mean to be gone for so long, but life happened and I had to figure out where I was going to put my time. I have thought about this blog every day and worried that I haven’t been posting, and I want to apologize. I love to blog, I love to share deals, I love to help people save money, and I love to keep up with deals myself. I didn’t mean to stop posting deals, but it just kind of happened. Running a blog isn’t very easy and right now it’s just me and my blog, with my sister occasionally helping out.  I never meant to abandon y’all.

I knew I would need some help keeping this blog up after I had the baby. I interviewed a few people but I ran into some technical difficulties that didn’t allow them to have log ins before I went to the hospital to have a baby.  My baby came a day before her due date, and since my son was 2 weeks late I figured she’d at least be a day or two late, not show up early. I didn’t have a single thing ready, and in between contractions was trying to finalize emails for a company I was working for, pack my bag, and find a friend who would watch my 2 year old overnight. It was too late to find someone to help me on this blog. I was allowed to leave the hospital after one night, and had barely been home 2 hours when Tristan got incredibly sick again.  It seemed like he was just getting better when Christmas and tons of visitors came along.  We had a beautiful Christmas and were looking forward to the New Year when my husband got really sick.  So, the new year came and went.  I had a baby who wasn’t even 2 weeks old, a sick husband and a rowdy toddler. I was pretty exhausted with the baby and trying to recover from the delivery myself. Thankfully, my Mom thought she’d come visit for a few days and became a life saver.
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I think many of you know that the flu has been going around this year and it’s really, really bad.  I wish we had missed out on catching it, but we weren’t so lucky.  My husband was crazy sick, and my Mom was kind enough to sleep on our sofa and tend to him since she’d already had the flu right before Christmas. I slept on the floor in my son’s room with him and the baby hoping we wouldn’t catch it. Well, my poor little Tristan woke up sick and crying with a low temperature and I knew he had the flu, too. Children cope amazingly well under hard circumstances, and although I knew he had the flu, he didn’t seem as bad as my husband.   Since my husband was getting worse and not better after several days, we decided to head to the doctor.  I left the kids with my Mom and took him in.  We were almost home when she texted that Tristan had a high fever.

We walked in the door a few minutes later.   I quickly hugged my little boy, gave him some Tylenol for his high fever and sat him down at the table with some apple sauce. We sent Jeff to bed.  My Mom was holding little Summer. I was in the kitchen only a few feet away from Tristan, giving the baby a kiss when I heard a plate hit the floor. I looked over in time to see Tristan fall off the chair, hit the wall and then the floor. I thought it was him just being a 2 year old, but as I moved the chair to pick him up I realized something was very wrong. His eyes rolled back into his head and he wasn’t crying. I picked his stiff body up and suddenly, he started shaking. I yelled at my Mom that he was having a seizure, and then to my husband to call 911. Then I started to cry. I kept trying to say, “It’s OK Tristan, It’s OK…” But then his lips went blue and my Mom yelled, “He’s choking!”  That is a concern when people have a seizure-not that they can choke on their tongue, but since he had been at the table eating, he might have had food in his mouth.

And that’s when I lost it. All I could think of was a little boy who started choking on some bread at church-the family tried to do the heimlech and when that didn’t work, rushed him to the hospital. He died on the way there.  I couldn’t let that happen to my little boy.

My Mom grabbed Tristan and started pounding his back, my husband and I were both trying to call 911… and that’s when I couldn’t stand seeing my son blue, not breathing and the phone seemed to take HOURS to connect. Since both hospitals in Lubbock are on one side of town, they have ambulances garaged across town, and one is really close to us. I threw my shoes off and while still on the phone with 911, ran to the ambulance garage what I now know is almost a quarter mile away. Somehow I got there in about a minute and a half, which was faster than calling them. They hurried to the house with me, and my little boy was unconscious but breathing. We went to the hospital anyway.
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Tristan had what is called a febrile seizure. You can read more about them HERE, but basically when a child has a sudden spike in temperature their body shuts down and they have a seizure. They’re fairly “normal” for little kids to have, they do not cause any permanent damage, he will probably never have another one, and he probably won’t remember he had this one.  It’s common for people to stop breathing momentarily during a seizure.  Tristan quit breathing long enough his entire body turned blue.  It was horrible.  Completely horrible.   As long as the seizure doesn’t last more than 15 minutes, or he doesn’t have 2 within 24 hours, there is no need for additional testing.  The doctor at the hospital was very kind and reassuring. They kept us there til his fever went down and then we went home.  The doctor explained that while seizures are scary and terrifying for parents, they’re not that bad.

Since that night I haven’t wanted to be on the computer or my phone.  I just wanted to be with my little boy, my family, and to be honest, my bed.  I’m pretty tired.  When I thought for those moments that I might lose my son, I realized that nothing, NOTHING in this world mattered more than my family.   You honestly don’t know when your moments with them will be the last-I had no warning that he was going to have a seizure, and to suddenly see your child blue and not moving made me want to go back to all the mornings I set him in front of a TV to blog and just play cars and trucks with him.

So, I took a few weeks off, sent my broken (again) laptop to the shop and have just been enjoying my new baby (who is already growing up too fast), and trying to spend quality time with Tristan.  Life has gotten back to normal, my laptop got fixed,  Jeff is back in school, no one is sick anymore and I feel like if I manage my time wisely, I can get back to taking care of my little blog that I love so much.   I am so sorry to everyone who has been coming here to find deals, only to find a plain ol’ blog post. I should have at least taken the time to say something on Facebook or asked a friend to post here, but I will be honest, I was a little overwhelmed.  So many of you have left sweet comments about the birth of our sweet little girl, and I want to thank you for that. I read every comment and every encouraging word has lifted my spirits.  Thank you for being understanding.  I’m excited to start finding some great deals again and back to blogging!   Next time I will be more prepared-I have some friends who are going to help me out in the future so there isn’t a big empty space here when there should be some great deals!  I hope y’all enjoyed the holidays too, and yours were full of health and happiness.

Our Little Christmas Gift

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Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a great one.  We had a beautiful one.  My parents came in from China, my brother and his wife came down from Utah and my sister and her kids came up from Houston.  It wasn’t the whole family and we missed everyone who wasn’t there, but we were glad to see everyone who came!  Christmas Eve was spent doing a live Nativity with the cousins and plenty of scripture reading, as well as a couple performances by the girls from “Frozen.”   Our new little addition (Summer Micheale, born the 18th at 2:34 am) was supposed to play the baby in our Nativity scene, but she slept through it.   Christmas is such a great time of year and we are so blessed in so many ways.

since my son went 12 days past his due date.  As the date got nearer I kept feeling like she wasn’t going to be late like her brother, so when she came right on time I was a little panicked.  We hadn’t packed a hospital bag, we didn’t have anywhere for her to sleep, the car seat was in a box in the garage somewhere, and we actually didn’t have somewhere for my little boy to go.  So, I was having very painful contractions about 8 minutes apart, trying to pack a bag and texting friends to see if we could drop my son off.   We got to the hospital and about 4 hours later, got to meet my little girl.
DSC_0992edit (Large)We have been so in love with her.  I still keep looking at her and thinking, “I can’t believe I had this whole baby inside me…”  I love putting her in a little ball and letting her sleep on my chest.  She is just an angel.  When Tristan first met her he wasn’t a fan at all, he said, “That baby is sticky!” and wouldn’t come near her, he even said, “No, I don’t want a sister.”  It was so funny.   It took him about 15 minutes and then he warmed up and wanted to hold her.  Since then he has been so sweet.  He brings her diapers, binkies, blankies… and always says, “We bring this baby home?”

I wanted to thank y’all for the sweet comments, they mean so much to me!  I am so glad someone is still reading this blog since it has been a little neglected.  I had some friends lined up to post while I am out and then my site security was upped so much it locked EVERYONE out.  *sigh*  But thankfully that is fixed and we are ready to go :)

I hope you have had a beautiful Holiday Season and many warm wishes for the New Year!

 

Almost Done! 39.5 Weeks!

38 weeks chalkboard
I posted a while back that we were expecting our second child, and she is almost here! I will actually be 40 weeks this coming Thursday and can’t believe we are almost done. I feel like I have been pregnant forever.  This pregnancy I decided to jump on the chalkboard thing and have been doing a weekly picture.  The one above is actually a photo of the back of my camera, taken with my cell phone.  It’s my 38 week picture and it says, “Ready for our little Present! Merry Christmas.”  I still haven’t taken my 39 week one yet, which I think I should probably do before she shows up :)

I spent the entire morning at the doctors office today, they were very busy so there as a LOT of waiting, and we did some monitoring and an ultrasound.  When I got home my husband and I washed the cars, vacuumed and cleaned the house up a little.  It’s crazy how quick the day goes by.  As for the baby, we are very blessed that she is totally perfect and everything is OK.  I think we can expect her any day, but honestly my son was 12 days over his due date and I can’t imagine a little girl going early.  She’ll be late just like her Mom is I am sure.

I will for sure let you know when we have her.  I am super excited to meet this little one!

Off to pack a hospital bag-what did you wish you had when you were there?

 

 

An Announcement: Big Changes

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Guess what :) We are expecting the sweetest gift this Christmas. Probably sweeter than anything we could have ever asked for…

We are getting a little girl :)
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I am due right at Christmas with our second baby.  Tristan is pretty excited.  He points to everyone’s bellies and says “baby.”  When we ask him what he wants to name the baby, he always picks the names I like and not the ones Dad likes :) He has my old Cabbage Patch Doll from when I was a kid and changes the diaper and takes the baby for walks.  I think he is going to adjust well to the new baby.

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We couldn’t feel more blessed. Our little boy brings SO much joy into our lives and I can only imagine when we have two that will just double. I have felt really lucky and blessed that I don’t get morning sickness and have had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, with one exception. My last pregnancy with my little boy I got PUPPS at 36 weeks. If you are not familiar with what that is, count yourself lucky. From what we understand, it’s a rash (like hives) that you get from being allergic to your baby. You’re only supposed to get it with your first born son, after that, it’s very rare and unlikely.

I’m super lucky.

Not only did my sister get it with her 7th baby, a little girl, I got it with my son and then at 24 weeks, got it again with this baby girl. Thankfully, I am now 32 weeks along and the rash is gone. Later this week I want to share with you what I did so if anyone is dealing with that, they can find some comfort. But for today, I just wanted to share our exciting news :)

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PS.

I took these pictures myself :) I am a photographer in Lubbock!  I had to use a tripod and a timer for some of these, but hey! It worked :) DSC_9934edit3 (Large)

Where Have I Been??

blog camping
I feel like I need to apologize here! If you read here regularly you might have noticed that I haven’t really posted at all in the last week. I have been gone soaking up the last little bit of summer that I can with my family. My husband spent the summer as an intern and was gone much of the time. He had 2 weeks in between the end of the summer and when school starts again, so we decided to do a couple little things as a family. First we went camping in the mountains in New Mexico with some friends. It was absolutely stunning and a beautiful change from what I normally see in Lubbock. Needless to say, Verizon has horrific coverage and we had no cell phone reception the entire time we went camping.
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Our next trip was immediately following the camping trip. My one Grandmother is 98.5, and the other one is almost 85. They’re both in good health, but I try to get out to Iowa to visit them as much as humanly possible. So my darling husband unpacked our little car from the camping trip and repacked it almost right away for the 13 hour drive to their house.

My intentions were to use the hot spot on my phone to blog while I was in the car.

What happened was it was a really long road trip and the 2 year old used up all of our data watching Curious George to keep from going crazy. We also had limited coverage (again). And, our tire decided to pop once we got out into the middle of nowhere. And we have never used the spare and found out that it too, was toast. So that was quite a few hours of time trying to deal with that little mishap :) Once we got to Iowa we only had a couple days to spend with each Grandma.

With such limited time to spend with some very important people in my life, I have chosen to try to just pretend the internet doesn’t exist (it kinda feels like it doesn’t when dial up is all we have available anyway), and focus on spending quality time with the people I care about.

I am so sorry I haven’t been posting much lately! I know there have been so many sales and good deals. Thankfully, I love blogging and love finding good deals myself, I just have taken a short break to be with some people I love very much. I hope everyone is ending their summer with a big bang! Expect the deals to start picking up again once the kids are all back in school and everyone has a little more breathing time.

Thanks again for hanging in there!

Our Weekend Camping

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This last weekend we had the best time EVER camping at Garner State Park.  We thought we would have limited internet access, but it turns out we had NO internet access (with Verizon, ATT did), so I haven’t been blogging and am now trying to play catch up!   If you live in Texas and haven’t been to Garner, now is a great time to go and make those memories.  It’s a beautiful park right on the Frio river, where you can catch turtles, swim and get crazy on rope swings.  And if you are ^ that little boy, run around in a swim suit/diaper for 3 days straight.   DSC_1478 (Large)
We met up with my sister and brother’s families, so we had about 20 some people camping.   We all took turns cooking dinner and then each of us were in charge of our own lunches and breakfasts, although in the end I think we just ate my sister’s food.  She brought some really good stuff.  The first night we were there we got to take my little boy in for his first set of stitches.  He tripped and fell head first into the corner of the concrete picnic table.  The park has EMT’s at their front office, but we had to head 4o miles to Uvalde’s hospital so he could get 4 stitches.  It was probably worse for his parents than it was for him, but I’m glad that it wasn’t any worse!  The next day he hardly even knew they were there and was back to his normal self, tripping on things and trying to catch everything on fire.  If this is what 2 is like with a boy, I’m not sure I am ready for him to get older.DSC_1453 (Large)Every night the park hosts a dance from 8-11. It’s probably my absolute favorite part of the night-dancing with my sweetheart under the stars, watching all the kids dance with each other or shyly ask other kids to dance, and enjoying the hot Texas night.  We left the little kids at camp to do smores one night and went up with the older kids.  The little boy and girl are cousins are both 5-they spent the night dancing with each other and spinning on the floor. It couldn’t have been any cuter.

This video is from the very first time we went to Garner, but this last weekend looked the same, only I was wearing a red dress this time and we forgot how to do the cowboy cha-cha :)   But it basically gives you an idea of how much fun the dances are.  Get there early with your lawn chair so you can have a seat!

When we weren’t at camp eating or up dancing, we were all at the river swimming for hours on end.  It was so much fun.  I didn’t bring my camera down to the river, but picture a beautiful river with big trees, rope swings, and a boat load of happy people enjoying themselves.   So that was my weekend, camping with my family, missing the ones who couldn’t make it, wishing I was as organized as my sister :) And already wanting to go back.

Have you been to Garner??

Lesson 2: Plan Ahead to Save Money

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I mentioned I was going to do a series that you can share with your friends on how to save money without overwhelming yourself.   Couponing takes a little bit to learn, but you don’t always have to coupon to save money. There are tons of little ways you can cut back and I want to point them out.  You never know when a tornado will hit, the house will catch fire or you might lose a job.  It’s best to be prepared and have a little saved for a rainy day.  Last week we talked about having a price point and a budget! This week I wanted to talk about planning ahead.  How many times do you forget to grab something at the store, forget a gift for a birthday party, etc?  Then you end up having to pay full price for something when you wait til the last minute.  When you plan ahead you can get things on sale, get them on clearance or find a coupon.

Most of the time I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. Someone recently wanted to set up a play date a week in advance-and I was hesitant to say yes. I have no idea what my life will be like next week. But, even someone like me can plan ahead to save money. Here are few ways I plan ahead:

Meal Planning:

Planning your meals at least a week in advance will save time and money. How? You only have to go to the grocery store once, not several times because you didn’t know what you were going to get. The less trips to the store, the less you spend on things you don’t need. How many times was your husband supposed to just stop for cheese or one small thing and he came in with Coke, ice cream and a bag of chips? If you know ahead of time what you are having, you can do things like prepare all the chicken in advance, freeze it, and pull it out for individual meals. Instead of spending 20 minutes every meal cooking chicken, you did it all at once. You avoid the stress of “what are we having for dinner” when 4 o’clock rolls around. There are so many benefits to having a meal plan!

Kids Clothes:

If I am at a garage sale and I see a table full of little boys clothing that’s $.25 a piece, I will spend the time and dig through the clothing. I’ve bought Gap, Janie and Jack, Gymboree and Texas Tech clothing for $.25! My son is almost 2 now and I will buy up to a full year ahead. He has 2 boxes of clothing in his closet in sizes 2T and 3T waiting til he fits them.  It’s like Christmas when I open a box and see a jacket right as cold weather hits!  Score! I just saved myself at least $15 bucks by picking one up at a garage sale last summer! Sometimes it’s hard to guage where he will be in the fall when I see a lot of summer clothes, but at $.25 a piece I am willing to risk it a little.  The other thing I do is check the clearance racks. All. The. Time.  I bought him a $35 snow jacket last season for $6.88.  I also bought him a swim shirt and trunks on clearance at Old Navy for $4 total.  Booyah.

Christmas Gifts:

November is a killer time to buy Christmas gifts. Stores have GREAT sales (Black Friday). Take some time in October to sit down and really think about what you want to get people for Christmas, and stick to your budget.  Sometimes if you buy too early and forget what you have you might end up buying twice.  Just keep the receipts and keep that budget!  I usually am finished Christmas shopping in October/November and have time to sit around and bake cookies when December rolls around.  When I was in college and didn’t have a curious 2 year old I had a box that stayed under my bed. As I found a gift for someone I would put it in the box with my Christmas list. Buying things a here and there saved me time and money and I wasn’t overwhelmed the week of Christmas searching for a perfect gift.

Birthday Gifts:

For the rest of the year I pay attention to sales. I found an insane sale in April and bought a ton of toys, more than I normally would have. I held on to the toys until my boys birthday came and then I pulled some out. The other toys I hid til Christmas. Yes, I spent more in April than the budget would normally allow, but when Christmas came my shopping was done and I wasn’t spending money in December :) Toys go on clearance right after Christmas.  They go on sale right before Easter.  Online stores have blow outs.  If you can, set aside a budget for buying gifts and then hang on to them throughout the year when you can just pull them out of the closet as needed. Try to be a step ahead.

Gas:

There are TONS of resources about when to fill your car up, what gives you the best mileage, etc. What I personally do is try to pay some attention to the price of gas, either by the radio or just a news article. I am usually able to fill my vehicle up the night before it jumps $.15 a gallon. In the end, I only save about $1-$2 per tank, but hey, that’s a Coke!

Do you have anything that you shop ahead for? What else can you add to this list?

How Does Couponing Help Your Family?

shopperspotlight july2 I am guessing that if you read this site, you already coupon and I am just preaching to the choir. What I was thinking about last night was how lucky I was to have someone teach me how to coupon. At the time, it wasn’t what I thought was a necessity. If I needed deodorant, I went out and bought one. When that was gone, I stole my husbands for a day or so and then bought another one. My life has changed since then :) Now when I am out of deodorant I go to the bathroom cupboard and pull out our box of deodorant and grab a new one.

A couple years ago when I started to coupon, it was mostly because I just liked to hang out with my sister and we ended up shopping together a lot. I couldn’t help but start to coupon. My husband and I were both working, we weren’t making tons of money but we weren’t hurting either. I couponed for a hobby and because I loved the rush of getting a phenomenal deal. My first coupon trip was to Kroger. My husband thought using coupons was silly so when I walked out the door he said, “Don’t spend more than $50.” When the total got to $271, I started freaking out just a little bit. After some help from my sister and some coupons, my total ended up being $70. I was freaking out I was so excited. It was the biggest rush getting so much food for a fraction of the original price! Another trip I bought $50 in cereal but only paid $15. It was awesome.

We have been in school since August 2011. That meant we both quit jobs and are now living on what we had in savings and student loans. That doesn’t leave a huge budget for other things, and I am so grateful that we couponed when we didn’t “need” to. I also lucky that someone taught me how to do it right. Since we have lived in Lubbock, I have not had to buy the following items:

Shampoo/Conditioner
Hair Spray
Hair Gel
Toothpaste
Toothbrushes
Laundry Soap
Fabric Softener
Dish Soap
Dishwasher detergent
Shaving Razors
Hand Soap
Body Wash
Face Soap (but I am almost out so I probably will need to soon)
Make Up (I have added a couple things here and there but I have SO much that I haven’t even OPENED yet that I don’t “need” any!)
Deodorant
Bar Soap
Canned Veggies
Tampons (except recently at Dollar General to make sure the coupon worked)
Pads/Liners (except for one time about a year ago)

We literally have not bought any of those items in over a year. Sometimes that amazes me when I think about that. We couponed enough before school that we had over a years supply of those items. I have heard a few people who say, “There are never coupons for anything I need.” And that attitude amazes me, because I know they’re washing their hands and their clothes… and there are coupons for those things. Even if you chose not to coupon for food, the list above are basic necessities that you have to buy anyway! I think every family should have some sort of “back up” for emergencies. I can think of times in my life when store shelves have been cleared, hurricanes, blizzards, water contamination, explosions in the gulf, and loss of jobs. Those kind of problems are unexpected and that is why you should have something to help you through those times. You already know this. I am guessing you already have a good stock pile. But do your neighbors? Do your friends? Can you help teach those around you the importance of having even a small stock pile? We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it.

I want to help you help your family and friends. Over the next few weeks I am going to have a weekly lesson on ways you can save money without having to overwhelm yourself too much. I hope you will share them with your friends and family and offer your help.

It has been such a blessing in my life that any time I need one of those items I just pull them out of a box in the back room or out from under the sink.  I want to help those around me have the knowledge of how to help their family, too.   We will be here in school until May 2014 (roughly). I estimate by then I will need to start couponing again for laundry detergent, deodorant, dish tabs, face wash, and possibly shampoo and conditioner. We will probably be able to make it the next 15 months on what we have of everything else. At least I hope. We will see!

Tune in next week for the first in the series!

Why We Aren’t Moving and Why I Don’t Like State Farm

Smashed VanI mentioned before that we were moving.  We were supposed to move today.  Our lease was up on the 31st for the place we are renting.  I have spent hours looking for places to live in our price range, neighborhood, etc.  We finally found the cutest place, talked to the realtor and had a verbal agreement that we would move in this weekend.   Since it’s just across town, we figured we’d take the benches out of the van, and use it to move just about everything.  You would be surprised at what fits inside one of these things.

Well, Thursday morning my brother in law called.  He found a house that was twice the size of where we were going to move for the same price.  Even though it’s way across town, I figured that was worth checking out.  I made an appointment with the realtor and headed over.  Long story short, a HUGE truck smashed into the back of the van.  He thought I had already turned.  We pulled into a parking lot and he gave me his insurance card, who he has through State Farm.  He apologized profusely and said he was calling his insurance company right away. He was so very sorry about the whole situation.  Since I had a to-do list a million miles long, I called State Farm a few hours later.  When I called, they already knew what had happened because that guy had already called.  I told the girl on the phone we needed the back of the van fixed right away so we could move.  She didn’t seem concerned.  In fact, she sounded irritated I was telling her that because it’s “not her job” to listen to what happened, it’s the insurance adjusters.  They would call me later.

Friday afternoon rolled around and I still hadn’t heard back.  I called them again.  I explained AGAIN that we NEEDED the van to move. I asked her what their plan was if I didn’t have a van to move this weekend.  She said, “I don’t know, there isn’t anything we can do.”  I told her it had been over 24 hours since they had been notified.  She said she would call an adjuster.  Hours later I finally got a call from the adjuster.  In short, she basically said that until she has spoken with the guy who ran into me (who she left a message with), and they have looked at the van, there is nothing they will do.  Oh, and since the van is drivable they won’t rent me a vehicle, but I can rent one on my own if I want.  But they won’t reimburse me.  They don’t care that the hatch is broken, since it’s still drivable they don’t care.

It’s Saturday afternoon and I still haven’t heard one peep from the adjuster. 

So now we are down to our tiny little Saturn.  There is no way we can move a couch with a Saturn.  We just tried to pick up some extra moving boxes and had to leave all the nice, big ones behind because they wouldn’t fit through the sliding doors.  Awesome.  Thanks, State Farm.  It’s not like we aren’t in school or anything and would love to rent a vehicle out of our own pocket when we HAD one that worked just fine.

I talked to our current landlord and despite the problems, we can stay here til we figure this stupid mess out.  Oh.  But since we are supposed to sign a lease today on the new place it looks like we will be paying double rent.   I am going to call the landlords and see what we can work out, but I am so upset.  State Farm Insurance doesn’t seem to care that they have screwed us this weekend.  They don’t care that I have to unpack my dishes and my kids toys for another week only to repack them, and unpack them again.

State Farm doesn’t care that they are making our lives miserable.

We are moving next weekend no matter what, we’ll figure out the situation with the housing… let’s just hope they fix the van by then or at least get us a rental.  Jerks!

I think what makes me most irritated is when someone crashed into the back of my husband’s truck a few years ago, their insurance company was so amazing and phenomenal… they had an insurance guy working with the cop at the scene!!!! They had a rental in our hands within hours.  They called us to see if we were OK.  I forget which company that was, but with the size State Farm is, you would THINK they could come up with HALF that customer service, and not make me call them every day!!!

Anyone have any advice?

It Isn’t Christmas if Whitney isn’t Crying


Because it’s Christmas, I want to share with you a tradition we have had in my family for many years.  We always try to make my littlest sister cry on Christmas.  I know, we are so mean, right?  It’s not secret in my family that the youngest is my Mom’s favorite. She can deny it all she wants, but we all know the truth. The baby is the favorite, therefore, the most spoiled.  When I say spoiled, you have no idea. If she hit us when we were younger, we got put in time out. If she got a headache from looking at me cross eyed, it was my fault.  There are 9,000 photos of her, and like 10 of the rest of us combined.  If she wanted it, she got it. That might be the reason every Christmas my siblings and I made her cry.  Or it’s just fun.  I don’t know, but it has become a tradition.  Our usual strategy for the Christmas Cry involves her presents.

One year we took all her new presents and wrapped up old ones in their place.

One year we just hid them.

Another year we sent her on a wild goose chase scavenger hunt to find her presents.

As the saying goes in our family, “It just isn’t Christmas if Whitney isn’t crying.”

That being said, the year that the LOTR movies came out on DVD was exciting for her. She had memorized all the books. She had read and reread the books written about the books. She had the trivia game (which she plays by herself because none of us know the answers… like who composed the second song in the third movie(she knows the answer!)).  She had the blanket. The shirt. The books about the blankets and shirts.  All she wanted were the DVDs. That’s all. It was “the gift” she was waiting for all year.  Christmas morning rolled around, the family opened gift after gift til there were only a couple left. She was trying so hard not to say anything, but you could see the worry on her face as the gift pile dwindled.  Everyone knew what she was waiting for, and we finally felt it was time. With a huge smile, my brother handed her the last gift. She knew what it was. Her heart was pounding and she ripped into what she thought would be the LOTR DVD’s with the beautiful blue eyed Hobbit star… what she got was the old VHS set of the cartoon movies that we grew up on.

You could see the disappointment and heartbreak in her face, but she tried to pretend, “Oh! Thank you! … These are great!” as tears of disappointment started to well in her eyes.

Then we felt bad, so we handed her the REAL DVD set. She burst into tears of happiness and anger. We all laughed. She continued crying and yelling she hated us.

I thought of that story when I saw this deal on Amazon for the whole LOTR trilogy.  The new movie, “The Hobbit” is released tonight. I have a feeling my sister has already bought her ticket and will be at the midnight showing.  If you aren’t going tonight but plan on going next weekend, grab the trilogy, get it shipped with Prime for free and spend the weekend doing a marathon!

On Amazon:
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Two-Disc Widescreen Theatrical Edition) -$3.99
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Widescreen Theatrical Edition)$3.99
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Two-Disc Widescreen Theatrical Edition) $3.99
If you scroll down, you can see where you can buy all three together for only $11.97!!!