Showing posts from August, 2011

Looking for Advice!

Or thoughts.  Or suggestions.  Or opinions.

The Bits is 15 months old.  And cute as she can be.  And naughty as she can be.  She still is not talking.  I'm not worrying about this, but I want to make sure not to miss something that would be an easier fix if we caught in younger. 

Here are the facts:

~She can make the MaMa and DaDa sounds, but she does not use them specifically to us.

~She can sign and say "more" and she uses it for a lot of purposes.  She uses them appropriately at the table.  She also uses it if she needs more attention from someone.  I feel that, overall, it's all accurate communication.

~She can sign "milk."  She doesn't use this one as consistently as "more", but it is new for her.

~She nods for yes.

~Sometimes when I say night-night, she waves goodbye to everyone.  She'll also lay her head down on me.

~Socially, she seems fine.  She LOVES to interact with her siblings, especially Chloe.  She also likes to perform for…

Wednesday's Praises!

~Carson's basketball game went fairly well.  He's too little, but he's not too bad to play.  Tony and I both were pleased with his quarter of play.  Lots of rooms for improvement, but he didn't embarrass himself.

~I was able to attend a Bible study on Thursday.  It was much different than anything I've attended before, but I enjoyed myself, and the other ladies were very welcoming.

~Chloe's outlook on school is greatly improved from last Thursday.  She came home Friday convinced her Spanish teacher hated her but had gotten along well with the other kids.  I considered that a great victory!  The weekend went well, and all is resolved with her Spanish teacher- who never hated her!

~Each of the three "big" kids earned last week's star.  They enjoyed dessert on the couch (a double treat!) and extra bedtime.  This chart thing seems to be working!!

~It's the last day of August!  I'm so ready for this month to be done.  Bring on September!

~I mad…

Sitting around on a Tuesday afternoon

There isn't a whole lot going on here right now.  Currently, the Bits is napping, the helper is mopping, the other helper is cooking, and I'm fighting a nervous stomach.  It's the calm before the storm. 
Today is Carson's first basketball game.  Last night we got word that he had "made" the team.  I didn't realize there were cuts, and I guess, there weren't supposed to be.  But too many kids wanted to play so they divided up the kids in to two groups.  The team and the practice squad. Carson made the team.
Part of me is thrilled.  I want him to succeed.  Carson loves playing basketball so I'm glad he is doing well in practice, but there's a big but in all of this.  Carson made the sub12 team.  It's for all kids 12 and under.  12 year olds are in 7th grade.  Carson, who's 7, is going to be playing against middle schoolers.  For those of you who haven't seen us in a few months- or years- Carson hasn't grown since you last saw us.  …

Money Monday!

First up- the grocery budget.  I'm not talking about it.  Here's hoping that the wisdom gained in August will allow for a smoother September.  (and if I never eat pb&j again...)

As August creeps to a close (Could this month have been any longer?), it's time to update the house savings.  As some of you may remember, we are working to save 100% toward our next house.  This month, we were able, in spite of the evil grocery budget, to save 120% of our monthly goal.  I would be more pleased about that number had I not known where we started the month and the potential savings.  Oh well, better luck next month.  But there's a problem.  I'm not sure I want to do this anymore.  I'm just not sure what I want anymore.  Pass the syrup, people, I'm waffling!

Yes, I'm a waffle.  Money and waffles are a constant for me.  Tony laughs that I'll only be happy either living in Bel Air or in the Kenyan Bush.  There's no middle ground with me, but this house-sa…

Life Verse

Do you have a life verse?  A piece of Scripture that guides your waking moments.  Or instead of Scripture, maybe a wise quotation that plays in the back of your mind.  A sort of mantra.  For me, the life verse changes.  As I go through struggles, trials, victories, and seasons, my guiding words change to wisdom that gets me through the next wave or storm life tosses at me.  So it is for Chloe.

I'm not big on name meanings, but it was important to me that the kids have a verse for their life.  I often talked about having those verses painted on the walls behind their beds.  I struggled to come up with verses for Carson and Camilla.  But Chloe's verse?  I've always known Chloe's verse.  And for those who have ever known Chloe, they know the verse is hers.  It feels written directly to her.  For her.  And where else would you find this verse, but in the Beatitudes.  Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
I'm not going to pretend to understa…

In the name of full disclosure...

Last night I purchased the girls' Christmas dresses.  Just sayin'...

Everyone has an issue...

Or is obession a better word?

These are all Camilla's dresses that currently fit.  (All smooshed together so they would fit it one picture.)  The grand total.....45.

So, what's your "thing"?  The irresitible-money-draining-can't-say-no-gotta-have-it thing?  Or that "thing" that you have to have?  The splurge you choose to make?   And everyone has one!

For Tony, it is drawstring trash bags.  I will never forget the moment I discovered that.  We were living in Illinois, and I was hardcore cutting our spending.  I purchased the twist-tie trash bags at ALDI.  I wondered if it would be a problem, but Tony is seriously laid back so I wasn't that concerned.  About two nights later, I was sitting at the dining room table.  I hear him come up the back stairs, through the kitchen, to the dining room.  It was loud enough that I looked up.  In his hand was the box of trash bags.  With no emotion, he said, "I make entirely too much money to deal with these.…

Weekly 7!!

~It's Wednesday.  We are halfway through the week!

~Chloe's teacher.  Any other teacher and I think I would have already pulled her from school.  I can't praise this woman enough!

~Coralynn Mae.  My Bits is sitting quietly on the floor next to me organizing crayons.  She's been at it for at least 35 minutes!

~Carson David.  To say he is thriving in the school setting would be a colossal understatement.  This is no surprise, but it is still a praise.

~I'm getting slightly more confident in my Spanish.  I still am deathly afraid to talk to people, but I did manage to squeak out a conversation with the helper yesterday.  My language trainer was proud of me.

~Panama.  I do really like this place.  There are times I long for the ease of Georgia living, but the difficulty of life here forces me to focus on the important things.

~Loyalty.  This week Tony and I discovered the depth of the kids' loyalty to one another.  We had no idea how deep it ran, and I'm so tha…

Organized and Rewarded

This transition to traditional schooling has been p.a.i.n.f.u.l. to say the very least.  I had no idea we were going to be so busy, so tired, and so separated from one another.  On Mondays, Chloe and Carson spend over 10 hours away from home.  That's more time away from us in one day than they would in a week of homeschooling!  And I hate it.

I really hate how are lives are so separated.  The close second for top reasons I homeschooled was to allow us the freedom to live our lives with our own schedule.  To be gone when we needed to be gone.  To dictate our lives.  Unfortunately, there isn't anything I can do to change this school schedule.  So, I began working on what I could control- their time here.  Nicer mothers would have taken over the kids' chores because they are too busy.  I'm not that nice.  Or I'm too lazy.  Tomato.  ToMAHto.  Instead of removing their chores, I decided that we needed to get organized.  The goal:  To have all school, chores, showering, …

Money Monday!

Folks, I can honestly say that I had no idea how difficult that $550 number was going to be.  I promise I am used to be very good at keeping a low grocery budget.  Apparently, Panama pricing + school lunches + growing kids = a grocery budget that's much higher than I anticipated.  We have now upped that budget from the optimistic $550 to the more realistic, but still difficult $650.  Tony and I are stunned by this whole process.  $650.  Wowzers.  That's a lot more than we want to be spending.
There are some encouraging points here that must be highlighted:

~We have not thrown away any wasted food.  (I did have a mishap cooking some fish, but that wasn't us wasting food.  That was me watching too much Chopped on Food Network.)  So, although the budget is higher than I want, the food IS being consumed.

~We did figure out that we are spending much less on dining which is upping our grocery budget some.  (Eating at home is almost always cheaper.  Big dining budgets will never…

Asking for a favor

I've heard that people are having trouble getting blogger to let them leave comments on the blog. 

I changed the settings so now a seperate window should open and allow comments.

Would you mind just leaving me a comment to let me know if they work?   If you are unable to get it to work, send me an email ( or my real email if you have it.) 


Funsy Friday- Home Movies

She can finally walk.  She still doesn't talk.  But the girl can climb.

(and, yes, she needs a new diaper.)

Weekly Wednesday 7!

~The kids continue to enjoy school.  (Far more than I enjoy them attending school- we're working on my attitude still.)

~My kids are healthy.  The reality of that blessing was brought home BIGTIME last week: rare brain cancer, diabetes, miscarriage.  Thank you, Lord, for these healthy kids.

~Double dates on skype. 

~The walls are painted.  (two aren't but who cares about those walls!?!)  Tony is my hero for staying up until nearly 3 a.m. two nights in a row to get it done in two days!!  I love the gray!

~Today, I received an invitation for a luncheon.  I can't go, but I was thrilled to be thought of!

~We discovered a neat ceramics studio.  (Chloe was invited to a birthday party there- another praise!)  All 5 of us agreed that we definitely wanted to try it out as a family!

~My Dad's birthday is today.  (In honor of him, there will be no contractions in this section.)  I will spare you all the mushy daughter stuff, but you must realize that I have one of the world'…

Happy 5th Birthday Camilla!!

Yesterday, I was too busy partying like it was 2006 to post anything for our normal Money Monday!  (But I have a few ideas that I'm looking forward to sharing with y'all!)
Camilla Rose turned 5 yesterday.  I'm completely overwhelmed that this child can be that old already.  I'll spare you all the mushy mommy stuff, but know that my sweet Camilla made me different.  The pregnancy, the delivery, nursing her changed who I was.  And I'm thankful for her.  Ever so thankful for her.

Funsy Friday- The 100th Blog Post!

How exciting!  This is my 100th blog post on this blog!!  In honor of this occasion, we are going to have the August birthday and anniversary shout out!!

So, Happy Birthday wishes to...

~nephew Wade
~niece Brooke
~sister-in-law Susan (whose birthday is today!!)
~Grandma G (who turns the big 9-0 on Saturday!!)
~sweetest daughter Camilla Rose (who will have her own post on her actual birthday!)
~Dad Bob
~Uncle Tom
~Aunt Bonnie
~niece Abigail

And Happy Anniversary wishes to...

~Tricia and Mike
~Trina and Jay
~Dad and Mom A.

I hope you all know how loved you are!!  (And I'm sorry I can't devote a post to each of you- too many in this month!)

Time to Praise!

~I've been anxious this week because of a doctor's appointment that was this morning.  (Not the praise)  In spite of this week's anxiety, it’s nothing compared to the stranglehold worry used to hold on me.  (That's the praise.)
~My black pencil skirt from Banana Republic.  I love this skirt.  It instantly makes me feel all pulled together which gives me confidence.  It's old (my parents bought in Los Angeles in 1997), but it's a classic, and I love it.  (And I can still wear a skirt that I bought 5 pregnancies ago- that's a praise, too!)
~My imaginary online friend Erica's son had open heart surgery today.  He is out of surgery and early reports are saying that everything went well!  She would give that a "whoot!"
~The doctor I saw today was super nice and really seemed to know what he was talking about.  He diagnosed my pain- nothing too serious- and we have an action plan.  I love answers!!
~The kids are enjoying school.  I'm much relieved. …

Money Monday!

There is more money in that picture than is left in our grocery budget.  A lot more.  Staying under budget this month is going to take an act of God.  (It has to be an act of God, because an act of Congress and under budget are oxymoronic.  Last political comment of the day.)  The grand total left in the grocery budget is (insert drumroll) ..........$4.62

Now folks, I'm pretty good with making the money stretch, but $4.62 won't buy a gallon of milk in Panama and we have 23 days left.  So, we now have some decisions to make. 

Option One: Make everyone stop eating.  Coralynn and I would do fairly well with this plan.  She takes after my side of the family.  (My brother and I are experts at not eating.  If the food is presented, we will eat it, but we aren't likely to stop in the middle of something to make ourselves food.)  Tony and the other kids, AKA- The Hungry 4, would struggle with the plan.

Option Two:  Stop all menu planning and eat solely through the food on hand.  T…

Love her to Bits!

Feeling her new do!

Responding to your requests...

I am still in the process of getting apartment photos up.  We have decided to paint and redecorate so I am going to wait until that is completely finsihed.  In the meantime, some of my imaginary friends and I were discussing how Camilla's name is pronounced with the English and Spanish spelling.   Here she is to teach you...

Thoughts from Thursday: The First Day of School

(and for the record, not one of us cried.)

(Yes, Chloe is that much taller than Carson.  She's 19 months older than he is.  He's 29 months older than Camilla.  Kind of hard to believe isn't it!)

Well, at 6:05 my life changed.  I am now forced to wake up when I need to instead of when I want to.  My kids are at school.  How weird is that?  For the majority of you, it's not weird at all.  It's just part of life.  But for me, it is very weird. 
As I type this, Coralynn is eating breakfast.  A breakfast I made.  Chloe normally makes breakfast for her.  They usually sit together and discuss life over fruit, bread, and milk  Even Coralynn got that something was different.  I put her on the counter while I made her some breakfast.  She put her hand out (in the where position- you know what I mean.) and said "Co."  (Long "o" sound.)  I've never heard her call Chloe anything, but I guess the magnitude of the moment required speech.
After breakfast, we&#…

Weekly 7!

Since it is Wednesday, it's time for our midweek praise-a-thon!!

~Was able to get a lot of grocery shopping and budgeting done over the weekend!

~It rained all day Saturday.  All day.  We don't need the rain, but I love a rainy day.  I really love a rainy day on a weekend.  It's permission to sit inside and play all day.

~Family Fun Night!  The 6 of us had a great time playing Phase 10 (well, until some of us got a little grumpy because we were losing. We won't say whom because we don't want to embarrass Tony.)

~We were able to buy Coralynn a swing/slide playset.  She loved sliding on the big playsets at the church in Georgia so we thought this would be a nice distraction during the first few days of the siblings being at school.

~Sunday, I had kind of a yuck morning at church.  The message was great- as always- but I received some negative feedback from a negative person and it kind of brought my day down.  But God, (Tony has an awesome sermon entitled "But G…

Money Monday!

I wanted to give you an update on the house savings.  We were able to put 100% of our monthly goal aside in July.  I am very pleased about that.  I am not pleased with the savings options for this money.  The experts would say to put the money in very low risk investments, but those offer minimal return.  We're still considering different higher-risk options in the hopes of greater return.  Our goal isn't to live in the biggest house in the city, but we definitely want a house large enough for our family and a house that is suited for whatever ministry God has for us, and it.  I appreciate your prayers in all of this.

With August comes a new budget cycle.  Tony gets paid once a month.  I love this because it allows us to sit down and write out all the bills in one sitting, and I'm able to create the entire budget without having to factor money coming in all throughout the month.    As I was sitting down with August's budget, I was reflecting on our grocery budget.  The …