Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy 6 Months in Heaven!

Today marks my baby's 6 months in heaven!  He is so lucky!

This past Sunday night my boys were asking what a funeral was (our youth pastor's grandmother died and I just couldn't go... I just couldn't....).  Arnold explained it to them and you know what Kyler's response was?  Steve's Gran would be with Otis.  And Q got all excited knowing that Otis would have someone else in heaven with him.

Some days...

Some days I fully wish it was me with him.  Some days the heart ache is so bad I can barely stand up straight.  Some days I just shut down.  I just can't take it anymore.

Then there are others, which like today, I try to make myself so busy I can just "forget".  I try to forget what happen, forget our hell we lived through in 2012 and forget that I have a baby in heaven.

I pack my life and my days up with so much I hardly have room to breath.  Some days that is just easier for me.

Some days...

Some days I wonder why I'm not "where I should be" for having a baby 6 months ago.  Some days I wonder why my body has gone back to "normal", why my hair is still falling out, and why my emotions are no where close to being in check.

Then there are days when I feel like I'm finally in control.  Finally getting better.  And finally doing "ok" with my life.

Today I'm so sad my baby is in heaven.  But I am so glad he is there with his Father. 

Some days...

Some days are better than others.  But I do know Otis was and is loved more than I could express. 

And for those of you going through this... this is *normal*.  These feelings, this is normal.  And don't anyone tell you otherwise.  Grief is so completely normal.  In the way that there is nothing normal about it.  Some days rock, and some days suck.  That's just how it goes.  But... when there are more sucky days than "rocking" days find someone to talk to.  Please.  I do and it helps.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Marriage Monday ~ Money, Part 2

Finally!  A Marriage Monday post that hasn't been forgotten, photo cop-out post or one of those things.  I'm ready to get back into this if I can.

Last month we talked about our first Marriage Monday Money post.  It was a super duper quick back story on why we are using the Dave Ramsey plan and what we are doing.

This month, as promised, I'm going to write about our grocery budget, and how we make that work for US.  While this plan may or may not work for you I'm hoping it gives you an idea of someone else does it.

I've written about this before... way back when.  It was a post called "Menu Planning"  I wrote all about how I menu plan for our family.  Since then things have been adjusted but the main idea is still the same thing.  PLANNING! 

That's right.  Planning.  You have to plan.

I've started doing these devotionals by Dave Ramsey on my "Youverson" Bible App.  The second day has this paragraph about planning:

"Jesus taught a similar lesson when He talked about discipleship in Luke 14:28-30.  He said no one building a tower would move forward on construction without sitting down to "count the cost".  After all, quitting halfway because the resources dried up would make the builder a laughingstock.  The foundation for his tower would become a monument to his incompetence."

While I don't feel like Dave is saying "only try once and if you fail you suck" more of a "keep trying, budgeting, and PLANNING so you don't fail"  While setbacks happen, and he knows it, we have to keep trying, over and over and over again!

We plan our grocery budget out a lot.  When I was writing the menu planning post (3 years ago) our budget was around $200.00 per 2 weeks.  I did 15 days at a time.   So around $400.00 to $450.00 a month for me.

Since then our family has changed.  We now have 3 adults living in the house.  We are trying to eat healthier (which sometimes means more money) and we are generally careful with what we have to get. 

Not only do we have 3 adults in our house but 2 little boys who eat almost more than their daddy (depending on the day and the meal).  Things got a little more expensive.

I now grocery shop almost the same way.  The flyers are still a great help, and I love knowing sales and not.  I do keep an eye out for our staples (ie, nutragrain bars, cereal, prepackaged rice crispy squares, pasta, sauces, soups, anything pantry wise).  If those are on sale we grab them right away. A great example is today.  We went grocery shopping and spent about $160.00 for 1 week.  *I should say our budget for foods is $185.00 per 7 days/week*  While we were shopping we picked up 2 boxes of KD; 4 boxes of prepackaged rice crispy squares; 2 boxes of cereals; 2 cans of "sloppy joe mix"; 4 cans of soup; 2 jars of seasoning (we need 1 this week and they were a good sale); and 2 freezer garlic breads that were on sale.  Everything was at least 50 cents to 4 dollars off what they normally are.

This is the reason our budget is higher.  We have made "wiggle room" for items we want to buy at a later/earlier date.  It helps us a lot.

I spend some time planning out my meals.  While I'm not as "fun new meals" in our house, I do try new things.  And of those things I do try I attempt to make most of them with things I currently have in my house, not things I have to go and spend lots and lots of money on!

I plan out my meals for 1 to 2 weeks.  We have now made "days" in our house.  Days that certain items are served in/on.  For example.  Tuesdays are "taco Tuesdays" we have chicken tacos, beef tacos, wraps, taco lasagna, ect.  Wednesdays are "Waffle Wednesdays".  I make waffles in the morning and I have them at lunch as well.  I do make a few extra and put them in the freezer for the weekends when the boys want a waffle and I'm not up to make them.  The take them out of the freezer, toss them in the toaster and we are good to go!.  Thursdays, I try, most of the time, to do a Crockpot meal or something super simple as Thursdays are our most busy day.  Fridays are "Burger Friday".  We have quino(sp) burgers, chicken burgers, beef burgers, veggie burgers, homemade burgers, ect.  Anything we can think of.  We keep trying to come up with something new to make it work!

When I'm choosing the meals I try to get some input. Today was the best.  I asked everyone on the way home what they would like to have for dinners this week.  I got a response from Jack of "do you have any meals that have leftovers?" Which made me suddenly realized the past few weeks our freezer meals for the guys have gone down to nothing!!!  So that's the plan this week.

Our week looks like this:

Sunday: Sloppy Joes tonight (way to use up the buns left over from Fridays burger night)
Monday: Chicken pot pie (to get leftovers for the guys)
Tuesday: Beef Taco Wraps
Wednesday: Ramen Noodles with veggies (Kyler wanted noodles and I wanted asparagus)
Thursday: Pork and Hashbrown skillet (something super easy)
Friday: Chicken burgers
Saturday: Perogies and Bacon

When I made up the meals, taking into consideration what everyone wanted/needed, we ended up with this.

Our grocery list was a bit different.  I didn't have time to flyer shop (I swear I normally do) so we went to my "trusted store" and got everything.  Then to M&M's to get the last few things which I know are cheaper and taste better there, and one last stop at Walmart (while doing something else there) to get some hashbrowns because for some reason our grocery store doesn't sell the small cut hashbrowns.

When we got all of our groceries anything that needed to be packaged up or put away was done as soon as we got in the door.  If it's something to make it last longer we do it.  For example, our asparagus was so "woody and dry" at the bottom I cut some off and placed it in a dish of water in the fridge.  We will rinse any fruit we can and get things ready to be eaten right away. 

We do our best to make sure our groceries are bought when we will use them, and only how much we will use.

When I was doing my past Menu Planning post I found that most of our food was put in the compost or out in the garbage.  We just weren't using it up like we should have.  We still have that problem with a few things, but generally with only buying what we need and when we need it, this helps a lot.  Once a week grocery shopping has made this easier and better for us to only purchase what we need.

I've also found it good for our marriage.  When we were pregnant with Otis I had Arnold start grocery shopping with me.  For me, it was hard to push the cart so Arnold came to do the heavy lifting and keep me grounded while doing this.  Now it's just something we "like" to do together.  I'm pretty sure I enjoy it more but that's how it works!

I like having Arnold with me.  We talk about what foods we are eating, how much things cost and where our money is going, how our weeks were, any plans we have for the rest of the week.  And we have been so blessed to have Jack home most Sundays.  He will watch the kids, once they have been fed and we can go out alone.  If not we use that time as a "teaching moment" for the kids to understand costs of things, where items are found, how things are spelled, brand vs non brand foods, how to unload the cart, how to load the grocery bags, and using their manners when talking with adults. 

It's been a good experience.

At the end of June I'm going to write about our budget and how it works for US.  Please remember this is not the be all and end all on these topic I cover.  I'm writing this to share with you how it works for our family and for our needs.  Not every family and every needs will be the same. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Busy Girl!

I've been one busy girl lately.  Between work and kids and volunteering and our anniversary and plays and laundry and food and grocery and well... just life, things have been hard to catch up on. 

I didn't realize I had missed "Marriage Monday" post until half way through the week.  That's how busy it gets.

So I'm going to try and get myself back up to date and see what I can get done here!

Have a great rest of May :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Marriage Monday ~ Happy Mother's Day (copout)

Hey there!

Yep, It was Mother's Day YESTERDAY.  But I'm using that as my excuse for not having my "Marriage Monday" done this week.  Instead you get to see two of my 4 babies.  These two are incredible.  I love them so much.  They are what make me a mother.  Which I have been for 8 years now. Wow... 8 years!

Anyway... Happy (late) Mother's Day.  I hope you had a great one.  And if not, that's ok.  Remember "Mother's Day" isn't just one day a year, it's every time that child looks into your face and you see that look of love.

PS... for those who aren't moms, chose not to be moms, or have no choice and aren't moms please know my heart is with you.  I understand the heartache of no children, losing children, and wanting them.  You are the best "mothers" to other children in the world.  My son's godmother (Otis's Godmother Jessie) can't have children right now and she is the coolest Auntie ever!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Marriage Mondays ~ Being the "Mom"

Having a marriage is a lot of give and take.  We know that. Heck any relationship is a lot of give and take.

This past weekend we have had a lot of give and take.  I went to a concert that hubby loved, for him. I would have been completely fine staying home, or going to our church to watch the leafs play on the big screen.  But nope, I was in the car heading to a church that was showing a TobyMac concert.  Don't get me wrong, I like TobyMac.  He isn't my favourite artist but he is a good one.  And finally at the end of his concert he played my favourite song of his.  So that helped.

Then last night... we had a bit more of the "taking" on my part.  I NEEDED sleep!  So I took it.  Kyler came downstairs complaining of a tummy ache.  Arnold took care of him.  First tums, then a little while later, cleaning up when Kyler threw up.

Today I'm doing the "giving" part.  As is Arnold.  It's never a "give and take" at the same time, at least not normally for us.

Today I'm giving to my family.  I'm giving of my time, and I'm giving of the fact that I *hate* completely, undoubtly(sp), HATE cleaning up puke.  I'm just not "that" kind of mom. 

My mom can do it, no problem. 

There was one night I remember calling my mommy at 6am.  We had been up all night with the boys both throwing up and there was no food in our house, nothing for us, we had been at the hospital for 3-4 hours and I just needed my mama.  She came, with daddy, and they cleaned, brought food and helped to take care of the children throwing up so Arnold and I could get some sleep.  Then, they left, just as easily as they had come, and we were well rested and our children were on the mend and our house was clean!

Anyway.. so I'm not that kind of mom.  I don't do throw up, large amounts of blood or spiders very well. 

Today I'm giving of myself, and my time, and biting my tongue while I take care of my little guy who is sick.  It's a struggle as today is one of those "filled up with things to do" days but we are making it work.

Arnold is "giving" today as he goes to the airport after work and picks up complete strangers.  Their daughter needs surgery at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.  They are flying in from the USA and we are giving them a lift to help with the costs and to get them there comfortably.  I "know" them through a friend on a Bible Study group on Facebook.  I'm always surprised how things work out.

Sorry, today I'm so all over the place I'm positive this post doesn't make any sense!

But here it is. Sometimes you have to use your "Give and take" with your husband (another post on that later) and sometime it's just a part of being a mom/dad.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May Bucket List

A few years ago a friend inspired me to make a "Bucket List" for the summer.  Things I really wanted to do for myself, the boys, my husband and my family in general.  Things I knew I would enjoy.  I came up with a "great" list.  By that I mean it always changed.  I added, removed and changed things.  It was wonderful for me to have.

Here's the example.  This is from June 2011

*Strawberry picking (it's happening soon!  The berries are ready tomorrow!)
*Jam making
*Exit interviews at school and Keli Program
*finish up our swimming lessons
*play dates with the girls across the road
*play dates with the new mommies and their babies
*Mini golf - the boys have wanted to do this since last year but I'm hoping this will happen during the summer
*Do Canada Day Parade
*Alberta Trip
*move downstairs
*zoo days (at least once a week)
*Bike rides at night
*go to the Toronto Islands at least once a month
*Camping (already planed for the long weekend and then again in August.  maybe we will try for one in July?)
*make sure the garden survives this summer!
*train for the tri and keep it up this summer
*boys soccer camp (in july - paid for and ready to go!)
*Get K more steady on 2 wheels for his bike
*Get Q ok with being in the water in Nana and Papa's pool
*have a "movie night" with the boys outside

While I'm still not sure what will be on my Summer Bucket List (which I would start next month) I know what I want to do this month.  (As you can tell I *love* lists, more than any person should be they are so fantastic!!  Really truly, the best thing ever)

My May Bucket List:

*continue working out every week day (every single day if possible)
*get up to date on my meals and my Marriage Mondays
*take the boys to the park every weekend we are home
*Complete the mothers day and maybe the fathers day gifts at school
*Do something fun for our anniversary
*Take the boys out for dinner
*Get Healthy! (all of us)
*work in my gardens and get some things planted
*Go for a bike ride with the kids
*Watch Kyler compete in his first track and field race
*Organize the boys room and get their summer stuff out!!!
*Have a movie night with the girls from youth group!
*Play catch with Kyler
*Scrapbook at least 2 pages!
*Lose 5 pounds (fingers crossed!)

So far that's it.  Here's to getting my bucket list done!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I posted on Facebook this morning saying that I LOVE firsts.  I love the 1st of the month, the 1st of the year, the 1st of the week the 1st of just about anything.  It's always brings such hope, excitement and that feeling that something new is happening.

The first of the year everyone makes big plans, resolutions if you will.  Something that truly encourages you to "take on" the new year and enjoy every minute of it.  It's generally something to make you a better person.

The first of the month brings excitement for what the next 28-31 days have planned in them.  Sometimes it's a month of birthdays, or a month of trips or a month with "nothing" planned.  Sometimes those are the best months ever.  The ones when you flip the calendar and see a completely blank calendar ready to be filled with all the life your family can handle putting into it. 

The first of the week has the feel that everything is going on again.  Things are still moving.  Another week of school, work, summer vacation (ahh those wonderful months) or sometimes just 1 more week closer or further away from something.  I'm finding Monday's are a hard day to deal with sometimes.  There's so much going on and so much that needs to get done I can't seem to enjoy them as much.

Today is the 1st of May.  While May isn't a busy month for us (for now) it brings a lot of "newness" to our lives.  This month we have my first full month at a new job, my first big project for the JK/SK's to get done and hopefully succeed, our first time going to a Toby Mac Concert this weekend, my first time on new drugs for my blood pressure, Kyler's Frist time on the track team, and his first time taking swimming lessons at school.  It just brings a lot of firsts for us.

Kyler and Quinton were so excited for the 1st of May because to them it meant that we could get ice cream from the ice cream truck.

My parents (I'm sure) are excited for this month because we are going to open their pool.

I'm excited to have the long weekend here in Toronto.  It's the first time (in a long time) that I remember having a full long weekend to work on projects around the house and yard.  I love those weekends.

So today while you enjoy the sunshine (at least in this part of the country) remember to enjoy the 1st that you have, while you have them!